I have read the government health warnings. I've listened to the World Health Organisation's dire predictions of a worldwide swine flu pandemic. I'm old enough to remember the British television series Survivors.

And I just don't care. Couldn't give a fat rat's bum about the boring old H1N1 virus. Maybe I've become desensitised after listening to too many hysterical Chicken Lickens who predicted the sky would fall in at the dawn of the new millennium when Y2K kicked in.

Or maybe I used up my give-a-toss quotient with the chicken flu scare. But either way, I'm finding it really hard to whip myself up into a lather of fear over swine flu.

Admittedly, when the hulking great Athenian in the seat across the aisle from me on the plane from Athens to Singapore turned and let out numerous almighty sneezes that covered me in a fine spray of his olfactory residue, I asked for a seat change.

But that was more to do with the guy's grossness - the hawking up of phlegm into a napkin and the thorough inspection of the contents thereafter was what really did me in. I was more fearful of his bad manners being contagious than of catching any disease.

Any flu is a potential killer. The Ministry of Health estimates around 95 people die every year in this country from flu-related illnesses. So if the current hoopla around swine flu means people take more care of their personal hygiene and that they choose to quarantine themselves rather than dragging themselves into work to sit and snuffle and suffer in a martyr-like fashion, then all well and good. But there's a real danger that we in the media have cried wolf once too often for the public to take this latest scare seriously.