Swine flu — America braces for the “Mexican Cocktail” (April)

See end of post for minimal twice daily updates

APRIL 25, 2009 -The feared swine flu epidemic in Mexico City is not “just” the swine flu. It’s a viral cocktail that may be hard to quarantine should it start spreading from Mexico.

In the United States there have been confirmed cases reported in Texas and California. New York and Kansas have suspected cases. 

As if one flu strain isn’t bad enough. This new strain of flu is made up of swine, avian and a human virus combined which has never been seen before.

Jumping the species barrier is not common.

Symptoms include high fever, headache, eye pain, shortness of breath and extreme fatigue with rapid progression of symptoms to severe respiratory distress in about five days.

Declaring an emergency in his country, Mexican President Felipe Caldron has the power to order quarantines and suspend public events – as does our US President should the need arise.

 Most public and government activities have been shut down in the area of Mexico City.

Health workers have been posted at public transport areas to keep anyone showing symptoms from using it. Mexico City’s International Airport, which services about 70,000 travelers a day is still operating.

The Mexican government is distributing breathing masks to help prevent spread of the infectious virus.

An emergency meeting in Geneva was held last night where Margaret Chan, director-general of the World Health Organisation, declared the disease a “public health event of international concern” She said the disease had “pandemic potential.”

Because of the ease of travel, health systems across the world are on alert for the deadly virus.

A British Airways cabin crew member was taken to a hospital with flu-like symptoms yesterday afternoon after falling ill on a flight from Mexico City to Heathrow.

UPDATES:

APRIL 26, 2009 (10AM PST) – The British Airways crew member was diagnosed negative for the H1N1 flu virus from Mexico City.

New York and Kansas flu cases have been confirmed as the H1N1 virus. The children in New York had been mildly ill the first part of this week following their arrival home sunday, April 19. By April 23, about a hundred other children at the school  became sick with flu symptoms.

Ohio now has a suspect case.

US Homeland Security has announced a Public Health Emergency. The former Bush administration had gone to great lengths to prepare the country for such an event. Appropriate procedures/laws will now kick into effect.

New Zealand, Canada, Spain and Hong Kong are reporting suspect flu cases.

APRIL 26, 2009 (1PM PST) – Canada confirms cases of flu on both sides of the country.

Homeland Security releases press briefing transcript for readership. Read it here.

APRIL 27, 2009 (11AM PST) Mexico’s peso tumbled the most in six months and stocks and bonds dropped as an outbreak of the deadly swine flu threatened to curb tourism and consumer spending, deepening the country’s recession.

Mexico will get 205 million dollars from the World Bank, including 25 million dollars immediately, to combat the growing swine flu epidemic that is already believed to have claimed more than 80 lives.

The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is at the forefront of tackling what it expects to be the rapid spread of  swine flu in America. The new administration in Washington has yet to appoint officials who will run the department.

At almost 100 days into the new administration, the US still doesn’t have a Health and Human Services secretary, nor has the head of the FDA been installed.

APRIL 27, 2009 (Noon PST) – 40 cases of the flu have now been confirmed in the United States. Twenty-seven of those cases are from the school children (hardly children!) in New York.

Some US schools are closed.

Mexico has reported 1600 infections and 149 deaths. The population in Mexico City is 20 million where the flu appears to have begun.

France has suspect cases of the flu.

Japan is using thermal scanners to check for signs of fever among passengers arriving from North America.

The United States may consider closing down the US/Mexican border.

Eating pork products does not pose a health risk. This is a virus being spread by humans just like any other human flu.

APRIL 27, 2009 (12:30PM PST) – People can carry this flu for two days before showing symptoms.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has classified the United States at level 3. Level 3 represents readiness for a pandemic. Level 6 would represent a full blown pandemic.

APRIL 28, 2009 (11AM PST)  – Sixty four cases of the Mexican Cocktail now verified in the United States.

The World Health Organization has raised the caution into phase 4 from yesterdays phase 3. The swine flu cannot be contained.

APRIL 28, 2009 (12 noon PST) – The swine flu is an airborne virus.

See the most recent press release transcripts from the CDC here.

The next CDC press release is due out today.

 Although, currently there are vaccines available — they will not be fully effective — and right now, it’s all we have. This new strain will need a new custom built vaccine produced which may take months.

The US Customs and Immigration Services website has issued a statement: “Due to Travel Health Warning, all consulates in Mexico are now closed.”

APRIL 28, 2009 (12:30 PM  PST) – An AP report has just been published —  the Los Angeles County coroner’s office is investigating the recent deaths of two men for links to swine flu.

Cuba halts all Mexican travel.

CDC reports US cases jump to sixty eight.

Swine flu can only be diagnosed by the Center for Disease Control (CDC)

Indiana now has confirmed swine flu in their state.

Gov. Schwarzenegger has declared a state of emergency that will allow federal funding to combat an outbreak of swine flu in California.

President Obama has written a letter to Congress for an additional $1.5 billion to fight the swine flu

APRIL 29, 2009 (6AM  PST) — The US federal government has “requested” that all media channels refer to the “swine” flu as the H1N1 Flu.

Remarks by Secretary Napolitano at the Media Briefing on the H1N1 Flu Outbreak

The AP release of suspect deaths in California was false.

Arizona has four suspect cases — results should be received from the CDC today.

The first swine flu death has been verified in Texas.

APRIL 29, 2009 (7AM  PST) — A permanent chief has yet to be appointed for The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta from the current administration. The currently appointed secretary of the federal Department of Health and Human Services has not assumed the job yet.

Mexico has a suspect 2,498 sick with the swine flu.

Report on initial case of a five year old back in December (?) can be seen here.

CDC has confirmed 19 dead from the swine flu in Mexico and one death in the USA.

Other confirmations include: 66 USA; 13 Canada; 14 New Zealand; 5 Britain; 3 Germany; 4 Spain; 2 Israel; 1 Austria.

Confirmed U.S. cases include: 45 NY; 11 CA; 6 TX; 2 KS; 1 IN; 1 OH

APRIL 29, 2009 (7:30AM  PST) (editorial by author) It appears that Mexico is moving towards blaming the swine flu on the US. The suspect swine farm is half owned by an American Company. Claims coming from Mexico are that an American was the first person they know of that was sick down in Mexico.

APRIL 29, 2009 (8:30AM  PST) — Every home in Britain will be sent a leaflet from the British Department of Health giving advices about the new H1N1 swine flu virus. While 22 people are waiting for test results for the virus, a newly wed couple in Scotland have been tested positive for the virus after returning from Mexico.

The first test result from Arizona has returned positive for the swine flu.

The one death in the US is alleged to be a child from Mexico that was brought over the border to the United States for medical treatment.

APRIL 29, 2009 (6:15PM  PST) — The World Health Organization has raised the caution into phase 5 from yesterdays phase 4. Phase 5 means that a pandemic is imminent.

WHO Definitions:

Phase 5 is characterized by human-to-human spread of the virus into at least two countries in one WHO region. While most countries will not be affected at this stage, the declaration of Phase 5 is a strong signal that a pandemic is imminent and that the time to finalize the organization, communication, and implementation of the planned mitigation measures is short.

Phase 6, the pandemic phase, is characterized by community level outbreaks in at least one other country in a different WHO region in addition to the criteria defined in Phase 5. Designation of this phase will indicate that a global pandemic is under way.

APRIL 30, 2009 (Noon PST) — The Mexican Cocktail is evolving rapidly. As of 17:00 GMT, 30 April 2009, 11 countries have officially reported 257 cases of  the H1N1 Mexican Cocktail.

The US now has 109 CONFIRMED cases, including one death.

Mexico has REPORTED 97 confirmed human cases of infection, including SEVEN deaths.   
   
United States with CONFORMED cases as of 10:30 EST, 30 April 2009: Arizona (4), California (14), Indiana (1), Kansas (2), Massachusetts (2), Michigan (1), Nevada (1), New York (50), Ohio (1), South Carolina (10), Texas (26).

Other countries continue to report laboratory confirmed cases with no deaths. Austria (1), Canada (19), Germany (3), Israel (2), Netherlands (1), New Zealand (3), Spain (13), Switzerland (1) and the United Kingdom (8).

APRIL 30, 2009 (1 PM  PST) — CDC press release  on H1N1 swine flu – transcripts 4/28/09

APRIL 30, 2009 (1:15 PM  PST) — DHS press release  on H1N1 swine flu – transcripts 4/29/09

APRIL 30, 2009 (3 PM  PST) — Fort Worth has become the nation’s first major city school district to close

An individual who traveled to Mexico City to support the U.S. delegation that accompanied the President to Mexico City came down with flu-like symptoms. Three members of the individual’s family are currently waiting test results for the 2009 H1N1 flu.

May 1, 2009 (Noon PST) — Because of a medical emergency within the family further posts will be minimal/suspended until May 4, 2009. My apologies for the inconvenience.

May 2, 2009 (11AM PST) — This post will continue with NO INTERRUPTIONS in May updates here.

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One Response to Swine flu — America braces for the “Mexican Cocktail” (April)

  1. Kegley says:

    I am very upset with my mother right now. She has a Mexican man working for her and he has just brought his wife and children from Mexico. Anytime other that right now would have been fine for him to do that. They do not come from Mexico City but its the fact they came from Mexico during this swine flu epidemic. It is even unsafe down in San Antonio where my son is stationed in the Air Force. I have a serious health problem and do not feel comfortable going around her house where they have been. I know they probably dont have it but I dont want to chance it. I believe this was selfish on my mom’s part. She would rather satisfy her worker wishes, over the health of her family.

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