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Scare Flu spreads from tabloids to the broadsheets

Few crumbs of comfort from Newsbiscuit:

Scientists have confirmed that Scare Flu has now spread from the red top newspapers to the so-called ‘quality press’ which was thought to be more resistant to alarmist reporting. Doctors have warned that the ongoing outbreak of stories in the media about Scare Flu has now reached pandemic proportions. Fears are growing that the lethal infection may spread throughout the country, potentially causing mass panic on a scale not seen since a Scottish swan was supposed to have died from Bird Flu.

The outbreak began a few days ago with a few localised and moderate stories in the broadsheets about deaths in Mexico. Since then, it has spread with astonishing speed, infecting not only the newspapers but also the 24-hour news channels and the internet. ‘What is worrying us most is not just the speed of the epidemic but the way the scare story is mutating,’ said Dr Sean Russell, a specialist in viral media at Kings College Hospital in London. ‘One strain in the mid-market tabloids seems to be causing house prices to fall and illegal immigrants to pour into Britain. Another has caught on via websites, causing thousands of unfunny puns about ‘being pig sick’, putting ‘oinkment’ on or ‘coming out in a nasty rasher’. It is desperately worrying.’

Symptoms of Scare Flu panic vary but they typically include talking in an unnaturally sombre voice, excessive hyperbole and severe restrictions on the ability to process information rationally. Many victims have also suffered severe memory loss; completely forgetting that every other pandemic panic from the Ebola virus to Bird Flu has never amounted to anything and that cancer and heart disease are far more likely to kill them.

Doctors are advising people to be very worried about this new strain of flu for a week or so, after which it is probably safe to start panicking about stabbings, terrorism or global warming instead.