Deadly new flu breaks out in Mexico, U.S.

Mechi

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Deadly new flu breaks out in Mexico, U.S.
24 Apr 2009 19:43:50 GMT
Source: Reuters

* New mixture of viruses in flu never seen before
* Eight cases found in California and Texas
* WHO says Mexico, U.S. well-equipped to handle outbreak
* No need to change travel plans, say WHO and CDC (Adds eighth case in United States; details)
By Alistair Bell and Noel Randewich
MEXICO CITY, April 24 (Reuters) - A strain of flu never seen before has killed as many as 61 people in Mexico and has spread into the United States, where eight people have been infected but recovered, health officials said on friday.
Mexico's government said at least 16 people have died of the disease in central Mexico and that it may also have been responsible for 45 other deaths.
The World Health Organization said tests showed the virus in 12 of the Mexican patients had the same genetic structure as a new strain of swine flu, designated H1N1, seen in eight people in California and Texas. [nLO274836]
Because there is clearly human-to-human spread of the new virus, raising fears of a major outbreak, Mexico's government canceled classes for millions of children in its sprawling capital city and surrounding areas.
"Our concern has grown as of yesterday," U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention acting director Dr. Richard Besser told reporters in a telephone briefing.
It first looked mostly like a swine virus but closer analysis showed it is a never-before-seen mixture of swine, human and avian viruses, according to the CDC. [nN24420522].
"We do not have enough information to fully assess the health threat posed by this new swine flu virus," Besser said.
Humans can occasionally catch swine flu from pigs but rarely have they been known to pass it on to other people.
The WHO said it was ready to use rapid containment measures if needed, including antivirals, and that both the United States and Mexico are well equipped to handle the outbreak.
Both the WHO and the CDC said there was no need to alter travel arrangements in Mexico or the United States.
CLOSE TO 1,000 SUSPECTED CASES IN MEXICO
Eight people were infected with the new strain in California and Texas, but all of them have recovered. Mexico said it had close to 1,000 suspected cases there.
The CDC's Besser said scientists were working to understand why there are so many deaths in Mexico when the infections in the United States seem mild.
Worldwide, seasonal flu kills between 250,000 and 500,000 people in an average year, but the flu season for North America should have been winding down.
The U.S. government said it was closely following the new cases. "The White House is taking the situation seriously and monitoring for any new developments. The president has been fully briefed," an administration official said.
Mexico's government cautioned people not to shake hands or kiss when greeting or to share food, glasses or cutlery for fear of infection.
The outbreak jolted residents of the Mexican capital, one of the world's biggest cities and home to some 20 million people.
One pharmacy ran out of surgical face masks after selling 300 in a day.
"We're frightened because they say it's not exactly flu, it's another kind of virus and we're not vaccinated," said Angeles Rivera, 34, a federal government worker who fetched her son from a public kindergarten that was closing.
The virus is an influenza A virus, carrying the designation H1N1. It contains DNA from avian, swine and human viruses, including elements from European and Asian swine viruses, the CDC has said. [nN23355101]
The Geneva-based U.N. agency WHO said it was in daily contact with U.S., Canadian and Mexican authorities and had activated its Strategic Health Operations Center (SHOC) -- its command and control center for acute public health events.
The CDC said it will issue daily updates at http://www.cdc.gov/flu/swine/investigation.htm.
Surveillance for and scrutiny of influenza has been stepped up since 2003, when H5N1 bird flu reappeared in Asia. Experts fear that or another strain could spark a pandemic that could kill millions. [nN24440477]
In Egypt, a 33-year-old woman died of bird flu, becoming the third such victim there in a week. The H5N1 bird flu, a completely different strain from the swine flu, has infected 421 people in 15 countries and killed 257 since 2003.
An outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, killed 44 people in Canada in 2003. (Additional reporting by Stephanie Nebehay in Geneva and Maggie Fox in Washington; Writing by Kieran Murray; Editing by Eric Walsh)

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Ppl here who want to go to Mexico for vacation or business get already warned at the airport! I just noticed yesterday!
I wanted to post this NOT because I want ppl to panic... information is the key. In all these cases of ppl dying information was given too late I think.
 

friend

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this has gotten worse, and they are reporting new cases now about every half hour

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and this is for how to prepare for a pandemic - this looks to be heading in that direction its useful reading. http://www.who.int/csr/disease/influenza/pandemic/en/index.html

please do. better to be over prepared than under. God bless us all
 
D

Dangerous Incorporated

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Thanx for the updates. Scary stuff huh?

My condolences to the families of lost loved ones. Very sad.
 

mickson177

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It's sad to hear about the deaths caused by this flu.:(
I guess wearing a surgical mask will be considered
a cool thing to do now. :yes:
 

AGB

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It's pretty scary hearing about all of this. I feel for the families that have been affected by this, it must be a horrible time for them.
 

mjbunny

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It's sad to hear about the deaths caused by this flu.:(
I guess wearing a surgical mask will be considered
a cool thing to do now. :yes:

Not to be taking it all too lightly, but that's what I thought, too. They can finally lay off MJ for the masks ;)

On another note, besides the general fear of a pandemic for the world and for my family, I also had the thought of the concerts. Selfish concern, I know, but I couldn't help but be a bit worried about them being cancelled (or travel restricted so we can't get there) because of a global pandemic. Who knows what will happen in the next few months, you know. Being in an arena with 20,000 people is certainly a great place for disease transmission. How much would that suck. I know that sounds pretty petty in the possible wake of a 1918-like disease, but it's one of many thoughts that's gone through my head the past two days...

I just pray for everyone's sake that it will go the way of bird flu and SARS... meaning die down and not be too much of a concern in the very near future. Pretty scary, though.
 

swirly

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It's scary knowing that it's out of our hands!

Rest in Peace :(

Apparently France and Britain are the best prepared for this, I hope we are helping the US.
 

Scary13

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I pray for everyone that is affected by this. It is real scary. What's real scary is how fast this Swine Flu is spreading. I hope and pray that this can be contained soon.
 

PoP

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I feel bad for Mexico and a few parts of US being infected by the virus. Diseases just keeps coming, like polio decades ago, SARS, avian flu, last year listeria and now this. I heard that a few Canadians are infected while coming back home from Mexico, but we have very low chance on getting the virus and I'm not worried, cause I always wash my hands and often I use anti-septic. I really hope to all the people who got sick from the virus to get well very soon and stay alive.
 

Elizabeth1973

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I live In Tijuana,Mexico, borderline with USA California. We have no cases of swine flu yet here, but we are being very careful and taking all precautions. Schools has been close until may 6 in the whole country. To prevent any spread if a case comes. We are inside our houses, well protected and we have our surgical masks. This is indeed a very delicated situation, In mexico city many have died and many are infected. Also cases had been reported in Sacramento and San diego California.US. We hope for the health authorities to control this situation. As well for all the people affected to heal soon. God bless all of them.

And hope for all of us to be safe and prevent this flu from spreading more.This virus is deadly if not taken care of.

May God protect us all.
 

athina_livadi

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This is a really tragic situation. This is an outcome of man's experiments and mutant foods they use to feed both animals and people. I pray for all the countries that have a problem, especially Mexico and the US. Here in Greece, we are good for the time. I pray for Michael and his children since they are in the US. It scares me to think that they might be in danger. As for the concerts....if we are so unlucky....and they get cancelled because of the flu spreading I will freak out completely! It's not fair, not fair!
 

snowhite

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I hope it doesn't come to Europe...and I hope there will be no more fatalities
 

blue_eyed_belle

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This is a really tragic situation. This is an outcome of man's experiments and mutant foods they use to feed both animals and people. I pray for all the countries that have a problem, especially Mexico and the US. Here in Greece, we are good for the time. I pray for Michael and his children since they are in the US. It scares me to think that they might be in danger. As for the concerts....if we are so unlucky....and they get cancelled because of the flu spreading I will freak out completely! It's not fair, not fair!

Don't worry about the concerts just now...just pray that it'll all be sorted within the shortest space of time. My prayers are still with everyone affected :angel:
 

The One.

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My fear grows every week.
I just heard that there's a woman in my hometown with swine flu, she came from Mexico and is now destricted in the hospital. :bugeyed

I hope the flu goes away soon! Prayers for those who are in danger.

edit: oops, actually it's not confirmed yet that the woman has swine flu, I hope not!
 
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Love.him

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"Mexico's government cautioned people not to shake hands or kiss when greeting or to share food, glasses or cutlery for fear of infection." Wow, that says it all how bad this is. I had heard they closed down schools & museums & anything that would involve gatherings. Still people will have to rely on public transport at some point.

I hadn't even thought about the concerts possibly being cancelled. I don't think it will come to that though. I think it will be managed like that SARS thing a couple years ago.
 

Momma Shannon

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The first death has occured here in the states. In Texas a 23 month old child has died due to the swine flu.

God Bless the families both Mexican and state side who have suffered this outbreak and may they get it under control quickly so no more loose their lives.
 

troubleman84

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RIP to those who have succumbed to this and God bless all those affected who are getting help. Most of the cases in the U.S. and Europe were mild cases of this virus. Could be similar in Australia and New Zealand. Seems in Spain you can still get it and not have gone on to Mexico.
 

Lorraine

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My Prayers and condolances to all affected by this :(

3 More cases confirmed in Britain too, One in London.

This is so sad. :no:
 

Mechi

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3 cases in Germany yet... 2 more maybe cases...
 

TillitsGone

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I'm all for not letting it worry, but um I don't know. It probably is that serious, but I can't let it scare me. Unless someone down here in Georgia has it, then that's when I'll start freaking out.
 
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