Saturday, Dec 20th

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Mexico Swine Flu

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Mexico is hit with a new pandemic! As of today, 86 suspected deaths and thousands sick due to this swine flu. Mexico had shut down schools, museums, theaters, etc. hoping to contain this influenza outbreak. This disease has spread into the US and Canada.

Mexico, the outbreak's epicenter with up to 86 suspected deaths, canceled some church services and closed markets and restaurants. Few people ventured onto the streets, and some wore face masks. Canada became the third country to confirm cases, in six people, including some students who — like some New York City spring-breakers — got mildly ill in Mexico. Countries across Asia promised to quarantine feverish travelers returning from flu-affected areas.

The U.S. declared the health emergency so it could ship roughly 12 million doses of flu-fighting medications from a federal stockpile to states in case they eventually need them — although, with 20 confirmed cases of people recovering easily, they don't appear to for now.

Make no mistake: There is not a global pandemic — at least not yet. It's not clear how many people truly have this particular strain, or why all countries but Mexico are seeing mild disease. Nor is it clear if the new virus spreads easily, one milestone that distinguishes a bad flu from a global crisis. But waiting to take protective steps until after a pandemic is declared would be too late.

"We do think this will continue to spread but we are taking aggressive actions to minimize the impact on people's health," said Dr. Richard Besser, acting chief of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

President Barack Obama's administration sought to look both calm and in command, striking a balance between informing Americans without panicking them. Obama himself was playing golf while U.S. officials used a White House news conference to compare the emergency declaration with preparing for an approaching hurricane.

"Really, that's what we're doing right now. We're preparing in an environment where we really don't know ultimately what the size or seriousness of this outbreak is going to be," Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told reporters.

Earlier, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said the outbreak was serious, but that the public should know "it's not a time to panic." He told NBC's "Meet the Press" that Obama was getting updates "every few hours" on the situation.

In Mexico, soldiers handed out 6 million surgical-style masks to deal with a deadly flu strain that officials say may have sickened 1,400 people since April 13. Special laboratory tests to confirm how many died from it — 22 have been confirmed so far out of 86 suspected deaths — are taking time.

The World Bank said it would send Mexico $25 million in loans for immediate aid and $180 million in long-term assistance to address the outbreak, along with advice on how other nations have dealt with similar crises.

The World Health Organization and the U.S. were following a playbook of precautions developed over the past five years to prepare for the next super-flu. The WHO on Saturday asked all countries to step up detection of this strain of A/H1N1 swine flu and will reconsider on Tuesday whether to raise the pandemic threat level, in turn triggering additional actions. Link


I first heard this outbreak Friday with casualties of only 20 deaths. It grew to 86 today and rising.
What is the Swine Flu?
Swine influenza is a respiratory disease of pigs first isolated in swine in 1930, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The illness is caused by four different type A influenza strains that can cause outbreaks in pigs, though subtypes H1N1 and H3N2 seem to be more common. The death rate among pigs is low, with most infections occurring in the late fall and winter.

Symptoms of infected pigs include fever, depression, coughing (barking), sneezing, difficulty breathing, red or inflamed eyes, lack of appetite and discharge from the nose or eyes. Link 

Human infection happens intermittently, with most cases occurring when patients have direct contact with pigs. But cases of an infected person transmitting the swine flu to others have also been documented, says the CDC. (A 1988 outbreak in pigs in Wisconsin led to multiple human infections, and there was evidence that a patient transmitted the virus to health care workers.)

About one case of swine flu in humans is reported to the CDC every one to two years, but from December 2005 through February 2009, 12 cases were reported to the agency. According to WebMD.com, 11 of those people had direct or indirect contact with infected pigs.

Human-to-human infections do occur similar to the way the human seasonal flu virus is transmitted — through coughing, sneezing and coming in contact with a person or object with the virus.

People cannot become infected by eating pork or pork products. Cooking pork to an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit kills the virus as well as other bacteria, notes the CDC.


Hmmm! Mexico's border drug conflict doesn't seem much of a crisis compared to this flu. This is getting world attention involving the CDC and the WHO (World Health Organization). If the border drug crisis had diminish the travel industry into Mexico, this swine flu will destroyed any travel into the country.
Seeing the citizens of Mexico wear surgical mask reminds me of Hong Kong some years back when SARs was the epidemic.

What is a cure?
Tamiflu, the generic name for oseltamivir, appears to be effective against the new strain when taken early, says the CDC.
I have my stash ready!



Comments  

 
0 # Guest 2009-04-28 08:52
i think that they should hurry up and find a cure for it before millions of us die from it so please hurry up and find a cure for it.
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