Tuesday, November 3, 2009

St Rocco and H1N1

Since my pilgrim life began, I’ve become a great fan of St Rocco. His tale begins as a throw-away-the-wealth pilgrim of the 14th century. As it happened, during his walk toward Rome, the plague was fast running rampant. He helped plague victims, nursing them and curing them, with the sign of the cross, it’s said. Rumors got out that the plague would vanish from a town upon his arrival. That was a pretty powerful miracle in itself, on top of the plethora of curative miracles that were attributed to him. Alas, poor Rocco contracted the plague himself and was banished from the city walls. Taking refuge in a cave, he was sustained by a dog who regularly brought him bread, thus he’s usually depicted with a wound on his leg and with a dog with a loaf of bread at his feet. He lies in Venice today and is venerated for protection against contagious diseases.

The thing is, H1N1 is not spread by harboring fleas like the plague was. The current widespread occurrence of this new flu has nothing to do with a wandering pilgrim. Ukraine is gearing up for an election. Political mudslinging is as can be expected and those with something at stake are using whatever is available and emotional to push forward their own agendas, including tossing about vague ideas about ‘travel restrictions’ in and around Ukraine, just when I’m set to arrive. Bad luck for me… all sorts of people are sending me headlines and cautions that the borders are closing and quarantines are falling all around. It’s nonsense. The World Health Organization hasn’t indicated that Ukraine is any different from the rest of the world, although there have been high incidents of the H1N1 virus in the west of the country recently. I’m going to the east. Unless they close the airport – which I couldn’t imagine would be considered prudent in anyone’s view – I’m heading the Kyiv very soon to walk down the river, around Crimea, and along the shore of the Black Sea.


Debbie said...

All that clean, fresh air will surely keep the H1N1 away, will it not?

Even so, may St. Rocco watch over you and protect you from every virus known to mankind.

Happy travels!

Kiwi Nomad 2008 said...

I suspect I had H1N1 a few months back in our southern winter. I usually manage to avoid catching such things, but I caught this, perhaps after I was coughed on by someone behind me in a theatre. For most people it is very mild, and I hope that if you catch it, you will only catch a mild dose. There is nothing that worry can do to prevent it in any case.