Sick fun

Have you played the new swine flu game yet?

In an effort to raise awareness of the H1N1 pandemic, Albert Osterhaus and his colleagues at the Erasmus Medical Research Center in Rotterdam have designed “The Great Flu” game.

According to the Associated Press story, players have to race against one of several strains of flu under time and budget pressures. Mock newspaper articles apprise players of developments, which in some scenarios include mass riots and scores of deaths.

I gave the Kai virus a shot—if you’ll pardon the pun—with limited success. I very quickly got the sense that fighting a pandemic is, at best, a series of educated guesses.

Some people may decry this as a trivialization of a serious public health threat. But I think it’s admirable. If nothing else, the game illustrates the daunting task that NGOs like the World Health Organization and our own Centers for Disease Control face in trying to combat global disease.

I recommend you give it a try, with two suggestions: 1) turn the sound down, because the music is creepy, and 2) don’t bother too much with the facemasks.

Good luck!

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