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Thread: US, Mexico spring to alert after scores die from swine flu

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    US, Mexico spring to alert after scores die from swine flu

    A new multi-variate strain of Swine flue has hit Mexico, and is now beginning to show up in California and Texas. In Mexico, there are 800 reported cases so far, which have left at least 57 dead in the Mexico City area alone. The first 7 cases have now shown up in the US, though no deaths have yet been reported. Most of the stricken in both the US and Mexico are young and healthy, with no signs of illness before they were taken ill.

    This is the kind of flu that creates killer pandemics, and is one to keep a close eye on. Medical technology is much better now than it was in 1918, but it won't stop this wave, if it develops, from being one that will be remembered.

    Article is here.
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    Re: US, Mexico spring to alert after scores die from swine flu

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    Re: US, Mexico spring to alert after scores die from swine flu

    Possible Swine Flu Outbreak At NYC Prep School
    Department Of Health Officials Testing 75 Students At St. Francis Preparatory School In Queens


    New York City health officials say that about 75 students at a Queens high school have fallen ill with flu-like symptoms and testing is under way to rule out the strain of swine flu that has killed dozens in Mexico.

    The Health Department's Dr. Don Weiss said Friday that a team of agency doctors and investigators were dispatched to the private St. Francis Preparatory School the previous day after students reported fever, sore throat, cough, aches and pains. No one has been hospitalized.

    The handful of sick students who remained at the school were tested for a variety of flu strains. If they're found to have a known human strain that would rule out swine flu.

    Results could take several days. In the meantime, the school says it's postponing an evening event and sanitizing the building over the weekend.

    Mexican authorities said 60 people may have died from a swine flu virus in Mexico, and world health officials worry it could unleash a global flu epidemic.

    Mexico City closed schools, museums, libraries and state-run theaters across the metropolis Friday in hopes of containing the outbreak that has sickened more than 900.

    The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said tests show some of the Mexico victims died from the same new strain of swine flu that sickened eight people in Texas and California. It's a frightening new strain that combines genetic material from pigs, birds and humans.

    The World Health Organization was looking closely at the 60 deaths - most of them in or near Mexico's capital. It wasn't yet clear what flu they died from, but spokesman Thomas Abraham said "We are very, very concerned."

    "We have what appears to be a novel virus and it has spread from human to human," he said. "It's all hands on deck at the moment."

    WHO raised its internal alert system Friday, preparing to divert more money and personnel to dealing with the outbreak.

    President Felipe Calderon cancelled a trip and met with his Cabinet to coordinate Mexico's response. The government has 500,000 flu vaccines and planned to administer them to health workers, the highest risk group.

    There are no vaccines available for the general public in Mexico, and authorities urged people to avoid hospitals unless they had a medical emergency, since hospitals are centers of infection.

    Some Mexican residents have started wearing blue surgical masks for extra protection, reports CBS News correspondent Adrienne Bard. The federal health minister has warned people not to go near anyone with a respiratory infection and to avoid kissing - traditional Mexican greeting....
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    CDC: Swine flu viruses in U.S. and Mexico match

    CNN) -- U.S. health officials expressed concern Friday that a swine flu virus that has infected eight people in the United States matches samples of a virus that has killed at least 68 people in Mexico.

    Swine flu is usually diagnosed only in pigs or people in regular contact with them.
    U.S. health experts also are concerned because more than 1,000 people have fallen ill in Mexico City in a short period of time.
    "This situation has been developing quickly," said acting CDC director Richard Besser. "This is something we are worried about."

    Of the 14 Mexican samples tested by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, seven were identical to the swine flu virus found in Texas and Southern California, Besser said at a news conference.

    The eighth U.S. case was reported Friday.

    All of the eight U.S. patients have recovered, Besser said.

    As a precaution to avoid further contamination, schools and universities in Mexico City and the state of Mexico were closed Friday, said the national health secretary, Jose Angel Cordova Villalobos. He said the schools may remain closed for a while.

    Sixty-eight people have died in Mexico City, Cordova said at a news conference. More than 1,000 other people have gotten sick, he said.

    Mexican President Felipe Calderon canceled a trip Friday to northern Mexico so he could remain in Mexico City to monitor the situation, the state-run Notimex news agency reported. Calderon met with his Cabinet on Thursday night to discuss the outbreak.

    Six of the U.S. cases were found in California, and two in Texas, near San Antonio, CDC officials said.
    The Public Health Agency of Canada issued a respiratory alert for Mexico on Wednesday, recommending that health providers "actively look for cases" in Canada, particularly in people who've returned from Mexico within the last two weeks.

    An alert issued Friday by the International SOS medical and consulting company said more than 130 cases of a severe respiratory illness have been detected in south and central Mexico, some of which are due to influenza.

    "Public health officials in Mexico began actively looking for cases of respiratory illness upon noticing that the seasonal peak of influenza extended into April, when cases usually decline in number," the medical alert said. "They found two outbreaks of illness -- one centered around Distrito Federal (Mexico City), involving about 120 cases with 13 deaths. The other is in San Luis Potosi, with 14 cases and four deaths."

    Authorities also detected one death in Oaxaca, in the south, and two in Baja California Norte, near San Diego, California.

    There was no indication why the International SOS tallies did not match the Mexican health secretary's figures.

    The majority of cases are occurring in adults between 25 and 44 years of age.

    The CDC first reported Tuesday that two California children in the San Diego area were infected with a virus called swine influenza A H1N1, whose combination of genes had not been seen before in flu viruses in humans or pigs.

    The first seven U.S. patients range from age 9 to 54, the CDC's Anne Schuchat, Interim Deputy Director for Science and Public Health Program, said. "The good news is that all seven of these patients have recovered," she said.

    The first two cases were picked up through an influenza monitoring program, with stations in San Diego and El Paso, Texas. The program monitors strains and tries to detect new ones before they spread, the CDC said. Other cases emerged through routine and expanded surveillance.

    The human influenza vaccine's ability to protect against the new swine flu strain is unknown, and studies are ongoing, Schuchat said. There is no danger of contracting the virus from eating pork products, she said.

    The new virus has genes from North American swine and avian influenza, human influenza, and swine influenza normally found in Asia and Europe, said Nancy Cox, chief of the CDC's Influenza Division.

    The new strain of swine flu has resisted some antiviral drugs.

    The CDC is working with health officials in California and Texas and expects to find more cases, Schuchat said.
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    CDC says too late to contain U.S. flu outbreak
    Source: Reuters

    WASHINGTON, April 24 (Reuters) - The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Friday it was too late to contain the swine flu outbreak in the United States.

    CDC acting director Dr. Richard Besser told reporters in a telephone briefing it was likely too late to try to contain the outbreak, by vaccinating, treating or isolating people.

    "There are things that we see that suggest that containment is not very likely," he said.

    He said the U.S. cases and Mexican cases are likely the same virus. "So far the genetic elements that we have looked at are the same." But Besser said it was unclear why the virus was causing so many deaths in deaths in Mexico and such mild disease in the United States.

    Reuters AlertNet - RPT-CDC says too late to contain U.S. flu outbreak
    ================================================== =====

    CNN is reporting that new cases of swine flu have appeared in Mexicali, along the US border, and new cases in both California and Texas. The CDC is considering raising the Flu Pandemic Threat Level to 4; it is currently at 3. Level 6 is a full pandemic.

    Canadian, US and Mexican health authorities are on the alert for new cases, while testing is ongoing in NYC on the 75 students stricken with flu-like symptoms at a private school in Queens.

    With the current 68 deaths reported in Mexico, this makes the mortality rate of the current swine flu outbreak to approx. 6%.

    Folks, is it time to start singing "Don't Fear The Reaper"? I would keep a close eye on the news over the coming days, as the outbreak intensifies and spreads.
    It matters not how strait the gate,
    How charged with punishments the scroll,
    I am the master of my fate:
    I am the captain of my soul.

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