The swine flu is common in the agribusiness, and antibodies to swine flu are present in 20% of vetenarians and 5% of pig farm workes, and rarely kills pigs. However, this swine flu that has presented in Mexico, Texas, California, Queens NYC, London, Italy, etc. has genes of swine, avian, human, and asian flu. This is without any doubt a pandemic flu with a current case fatality estimated at 10 % plus, and rapidly is leaping across North America and to Europe. Since 1997, the H5N1 flu has spread to all continents. Genetics showed that six strains had high pathogenic case fatality rates in the range of 70% average from 25 % to 100 % case fatality rates in humans, with some clusters of human to human spread, with close physical contact. Defiencies in two amino acids needed to allow rapid attachment to human cells was found in all strains, but can be acquired by recombinants with H9N2 or H7N3 or H3N2 etc. endemic human stains that can also coinfect pigs, birds, agricultural animals, and animals in the wild. Until fall 2008, the avian flu did not optimally replicate unless it was at 106 degrees or higher, but now it has acquired the capacity to replicate easily at 98.6 Farhenheit. Drug resistance to Amantadine, Tamiflu also are the predominant strains. The current swine flu is analagous to a early 20th century steamer trunk, with stickers showing the visited countries and coastal cities. It has stamps from Asia, North America, Avian, Swine and Human genetics. This is a "Lab Creation". Now, we must understand that this virus is behaving as if it is more lethal per case that usual flu, and can recombine in pigs, wild and domestic birds, and other animals and can thus acquire PB2 deletions, NS1 gene polymorphisms, and the polybasic six amino acids that allow it to grow in brain and CNS as well as any other target organ in human and animal hosts. The NS1 deletion of four amino acids bypasses IL4, and thus is much more lethal with massive cytokine release at end stages. Because Avian H5N1 and the 1918 Swine Flu targeted young healthy people, the release of cytokines was more violent in the most healthy. This first wave is likely to recombine and after Phase 1 gene to population insertion, Phase 2 will result in new superstrains with additional genetic polymorphisms allow transfer efficiently to humans. Phase 2 is the bioreactor phase. In the emergent or Phase 3, new viral Clades of Swine /Avian hybrids will then have more efficient spreading and higher spontaneous lethality.
WHO Watchdog and Author of Pandemic FLU !
Human Life International invited Dr Bill Deagle MD to speak, March 1997, to the International Board of Doctors and Scientists. After my two hour talk, the board sat me down for a presentation of a foot of documents. Included were three distinct biological programs. The first was a plasmid anti-HCG contaminated Tetanus Vaccine, to cause first trimester sterility by spontaneous induced miscarriage in the target populations of Subsharan Africa, Phillipines, and other target WHO UN high density population countries. The second program was the US Special Virus Project, with mycoplasma RNA oncogenic viruses to cause immune failure, and premature death. It was knows as the AIDS syndrome, and was a recombinant of Visna, Green Monkey and Feline leukemia retro-RNA viruses carried by host mycobacteria. Most important as the large packet of documents on the Avian Flu Project, funded by the Rothchilds and oversean by the WHO and UN. They were in process of obtaining gene fragments from deceased whalers in Alaska with the CDC and Natl Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, supercomputer remodeled and bioengineered resurrection of the 1918 Swine Flu. They planned to insert into the genome Avian genes and spray into Asian bird populations, which would later be a gene pool when spread was complete to all continents for a new Swine-Avian Flu Pandemic. We now see the H1N1 flu in Mexico, Canada, UK, Italy, USA and perhaps other locations, rapidly evolving. This wave is quite lethal, but with the H5N1 genetics in the wild, it is likely to come in future waves with yet more lethal genes and more rapid spread. Certainly, in the next 7 days, the presence in multiple countries, US Pandemic Flu Alert, WHO raised from 3rd to 4th level, and the pronouncements for a decade plus of coming Pandemic Flu, this was totally a UN WHO plot to release a virus that would cull the human herd. Martial law will come with this or future waves in the next several months. This is the Final END GAME of the Global Elite, to fullfill Global 2000, NSSM 1974 population threat alerts, 1996 UN Population control documents, all calling for massive reduction in World Human Populations. Last week, the UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown called for a reduction from 60 to 30 million.
Mexican Swine Flu Epidemic April 2009...First Wave of Pandemic Flu ?!
By MARC LACEY and DONALD G. McNEIL Jr. Published: April 24, 2009 MEXICO CITY ? Mexican officials, scrambling to control a swine flu outbreak that has killed at least 16 people and possibly dozens more in recent weeks, shuttered schools from kindergarten to university for millions of young people in and around the capital on Friday and urged people with flu symptoms to stay home from work. Dario Lopez-Mills/Associated Press People wearing surgical masks at the General Hospital in Mexico City on Friday. ?We?re dealing with a new flu virus that constitutes a respiratory epidemic that so far is controllable,? Health Minister Jose Angel Cordova told reporters late Thursday, after huddling with President Felipe Calder?n and other top officials. He said the virus had mutated from pigs and had at some point been transmitted to humans.
Mexico's flu season is usually over by now, but health officials have noticed a significant spike in flu cases. The World Health Organization reported about 800 cases of flu-like symptoms in Mexico in recent weeks, most of them among healthy young adults, with 57 deaths in Mexico City and 3 in the central part of the country. Mexican officials confirmed 16 deaths from swine flu, and said another 45 were under investigation.
The deaths have presented a worrisome pattern because seasonal flus typically kill infants and old people, while pandemic flus ? like the 1918 Spanish flu, and the 1957 and 1968 pandemics ? often strike young, healthy people the hardest.
Doctors believe that is because young adults have more vigorous immune systems ? which mount an assault on the new virus known as a ?cytokine storm? ? that may actually overwhelm the victim?s own lungs by causing inflammation and drawing in fluid.
By MARC LACEY and DONALD G. McNEIL Jr. Published: April 24, 2009 MEXICO CITY -- Mexican officials, scrambling to control a swine flu outbreak that has killed at least 16 people and possibly dozens more in recent weeks, shuttered schools from kindergarten to university for millions of young people in and around the capital on Friday and urged people with flu symptoms to stay home from work.
Dario Lopez-Mills/Associated Press People wearing surgical masks at the General Hospital in Mexico City on Friday. ?We?re dealing with a new flu virus that constitutes a respiratory epidemic that so far is controllable,? Health Minister Jose Angel Cordova told reporters late Thursday, after huddling with President Felipe Calder?n and other top officials. He said the virus had mutated from pigs and had at some point been transmitted to humans.
Mexico's flu season is usually over by now, but health officials have noticed a significant spike in flu cases. The World Health Organization reported about 800 cases of flu-like symptoms in Mexico in recent weeks, most of them among healthy young adults, with 57 deaths in Mexico City and 3 in the central part of the country. Mexican officials confirmed 16 deaths from swine flu, and said another 45 were under investigation.
The deaths have presented a worrisome pattern because seasonal flus typically kill infants and old people, while pandemic flu is like the 1918 Spanish flu, and the 1957 and 1968 pandemics often strike young, healthy people the hardest.
24 April 2009 -- The United States Government has reported seven confirmed human cases of Swine Influenza A/H1N1 in the USA (five in California and two in Texas) and nine suspect cases. All seven confirmed cases had mild Influenza-Like Illness (ILI), with only one requiring brief hospitalization. No deaths have been reported.
The Government of Mexico has reported three separate events. In the Federal District of Mexico, surveillance began picking up cases of ILI starting 18 March. The number of cases has risen steadily through April and as of 23 April there are now more than 854 cases of pneumonia from the capital. Of those, 59 have died. In San Luis Potosi, in central Mexico, 24 cases of ILI, with three deaths, have been reported. And from Mexicali, near the border with the United States, four cases of ILI, with no deaths, have been reported.
Of the Mexican cases, 18 have been laboratory confirmed in Canada as Swine Influenza A/H1N1, while 12 of those are genetically identical to the Swine Influenza A/H1N1 viruses from California.
The majority of these cases have occurred in otherwise healthy young adults. Influenza normally affects the very young and the very old, but these age groups have not been heavily affected in Mexico.
Because there are human cases associated with an animal influenza virus, and because of the geographical spread of multiple community outbreaks, plus the somewhat unusual age groups affected, these events are of high concern.
The Swine Influenza A/H1N1 viruses characterized in this outbreak have not been previously detected in pigs or humans. The viruses so far characterized have been sensitive to oseltamivir, but resistant to both amantadine and rimantadine.
The World Health Organization has been in constant contact with the health authorities in the United States, Mexico and Canada in order to better understand the risk which these ILI events pose. WHO (and PAHO) is sending missions of experts to Mexico to work with health authorities there. It is helping its Member States to increase field epidemiology activities, laboratory diagnosis and clinical management. Moreover, WHO's partners in the Global Alert and Response Network have been alerted and are ready to assist as requested by the Member States.
You know, influenza is a remarkable disease. All the while we have been looking at Asia for signs of a flu pandemic, and wouldn't you know that the most serious pandemic threat since SARS manifests itself within the borders of our neighbor to the south!
I won't bother reciting all the facts and informed speculation regarding the sudden (and I mean SUDDEN) emergence of Mexican H1N1 swine flu. For that, you can go to my blogsite, www.scottmcpherson.net, and get caught up better and faster than on any other blogsite in the Known Universe.
In a nutshell: In just the last couple of weeks, a brand-new, never-before-seen strain of H1N1 swine flu has emerged in Mexico. It is an avian/swine/human hybrid that no one has ever seen before. It is suspected of infecting nearly 1,000 Mexican people, and has possibly killed 60. This, according to the World Health Organization, which is not prone to wild-eyed speculation.
The virus has already jumped the border with the United States, infecting at least seven people in two distinct clusters in San Diego, California and San Antonio, Texas.
The Centers for Disease Control says the method of transmission is believed to be person-to-person.
The WHO has not yet raised the external pandemic threat level, but mark my words that if this virus' footprint is found in Europe, or in Asia, they will go from 3 to 4. The WHO has raised their internal activation to a more serious level.
What does this mean to you, IT-person? If you are an IT manager or CIO, it means you need to be reviewing your pandemic plans now, and familiarizing yourself with them again immediately.
It is probably too late to buy anything, or to buy anything more. Besides, who has the money to buy anything, anyway? Likewise, organizations' leaders are only now awakening to the very real possibility that this new virus might not eventually be contained by the Mexican government, the WHO or the CDC.
So all we can do is educate our people (quickly!), plan, and watch.
The Public Health Agency of Canada has told quarantine services to be on alert for travellers returning from Mexico after a number of severe respiratory illnesses (SRI) were reported in some regions of the country.
PHAC, in an April 20 report, said Mexican officials informed the Canadian health agency that the "case-fatality rate was relatively high" and that most cases involved healthy adults between the ages of 25 and 44. A number of health-care workers were also affected.
Although no cause has been confirmed, some samples were positive for influenza A and B.
The above comments on an alert issued by Canada offer some insight into the situation in Mexico. The reports out of Mexico are decidedly mixed. Some reports describe an increase in influenza cases which is attributed to a late spike in influenza B, which when combined with influenza A, gives an abnormally high number of cases this late in the season. Other reports discuss revaccinating at risk groups with the current trivalent vaccine.
Samples have been sent to Canada for a comprehensive analysis.
The increased influenza-like illness and fatalities was announced as the CDC issued an MMWR dispatch on H1N1 swine flu. Two cases have been confirmed in children (9F and 10M) and family members had mild symptoms but were not tested. The precise location of the clusters in southern California has not been released, but one cluster is in San Diego Country, while the other is 100 miles away in Imperial County (see updated map). Additional suspect cases in Imperial County have been noted and it is likely that these cases are near the border with Mexico. Some media reports also note that some contacts have not been interviewed because they were in Mexico.
GENEVA, April 24 (Reuters) - Mexico has reported a third possible outbreak of swine flu in Mexicali, near the U.S. border, with four suspect cases and no deaths to date, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Friday.
The WHO also said that the viruses in the outbreaks in Mexico and the United States had not been detected in pigs or humans before but were proving sensitive to Tamiflu. Known generically as oseltamivir, the pill by Swiss drugmaker Roche Holding (ROG.VX) can both treat flu and prevent infection.
"Because there are human cases associated with an animal influenza virus, and because of the geographical spread of multiple community outbreaks, plus the somewhat unusual age groups affected, these events are of high concern," the Geneva-based agency said in a statement. (For the WHO statement go to: here ) (Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Jonathan Lynn)
The government of Mexico City said Friday it was launching a massive vaccination campaign against swine flu, after authorities said they were probing 45 deaths and 943 possible infections from the virus.
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - A deadly strain of flu never seen before has killed as many as 61 people in Mexico and has spread into the United States, where several people were reported ill.
Mexico's government said on Friday that 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 genetic tests of the virus in 12 of the Mexican victims had the same genetic structure as a new strain of swine flu, designated H1N1, seen in seven people in California and Texas.
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.
"It is a virus that mutated from pigs and then at some point was transmitted to humans," Health Minister Jose Angel Cordova said.
US medical authorities expressed strong concern Friday about an unprecedented multi-strain swine flu outbreak that has killed at least 60 people in Mexico and infected seven people in the United States. "It's very obvious that we are very concerned. We've stood up emergency operation centers," Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) spokesman Dave Daigle told AFP.
One major source of concern was that the virus included strains from different types of flu.
"This is the first time that we've seen an avian strain, two swine strains and a human strain," said Daigle, adding that the virus had influenza strains from European and Asian swine, but not from North American swine.
In 11 of 12 reported human cases of swine influenza (H1N1) virus infection in the United States from December 2005 to February 2009, the CDC has documented direct or indirect contact with swine.
But the seven known cases of the previously undetected strain in the United States -- five from California and two from Texas -- did not have contact with pigs. The seven people infected have all recovered from the flu.
"We have determined that this virus is contagious and is spreading from human to human," the CDC said on its website. "However, at this time, we have not determined how easily the virus spreads between people."
Local and state health officials were interviewing not just the people who were infected but the people with whom they had contact, Daigle noted.
By MARK STEVENSON, Associated Press Writer Mark Stevenson, Associated Press Writer MEXICO CITY - 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 across the metropolis Friday in hopes of containing the outbreak that has sickened more than 900.
Scientists were trying to determine if the deaths involved the same new strain of swine flu that sickened seven people in Texas and California; a disturbing virus that combines genetic material from pigs, birds and humans in a way researchers have not seen before.
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."
it is reassuring that international reporting has been rapid, there vigorous case finding is underway and that apart from some history of possible upper respiratory infections there is no indication of sustained human-to-human transmission or widespread infection of contacts of the two ill patients
The above comments by the European Centere for Disease Control and Prevention on the confirmed H1N1 swine flu in southern California ignore the glaring indication of sustained human-to-human transmission, which is the distance between the two confirmed cases (see updated map).
There was no direct connection with swine or each other, so the confirmation of the same virus at distant locations was the indication, because both clusters were almost certainly caused by transmission from other humans.
Moreover, each confirmed case was linked to family members who developed symptoms before and after the confirmed case, supporting transmission within the family. However, because the symptoms were mild, none of the family members sought medical attention and were not tested.
Thus, the lack of evidence is simply due to the lack of testing, not the lack of transmission.
By Joshua Partlow and Rob Stein Washington Post Foreign Service Sunday, April 26, 2009 MEXICO CITY, April 25 -- The World Health Organization rushed to convene an emergency meeting Saturday to develop a response to the "pandemic potential" of a new swine flu virus that has sparked a deadly outbreak in Mexico and spread to disparate parts of the United States. Health officials reported that at least eight students at a private high school in New York City had "probable" swine flu, and confirmed three new cases -- two in Kansas and one in California -- bringing the total number of confirmed U.S. cases to 11. The president of Mexico, where the outbreak has killed as many as 81 people, issued an order granting his government broad powers to isolate patients and question travelers. "This is a serious moment for the nation," President Felipe Calder?n said Saturday. "And we are confronting it with seriousness, with all the pertinent measures." The director general of the World Health Organization, Margaret Chan, said the "situation is evolving quickly." "We do not yet have a complete picture of the epidemiology or the risk, including possible spread beyond the currently affected areas," said Chan, who cut short a trip to the United States so she could rush back to the WHO's headquarters in Geneva to convene an emergency meeting of expert advisers to formulate a response to the virus. It is the first time the committee has been called upon since it was created two years ago to help handle disease outbreaks following the SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, epidemic. "In the assessment of the WHO, this is a serious situation that must be watched very carefully," she said. "It has pandemic potential." The virus, for which there is no vaccine for humans, has nearly brought Mexico City to a halt. Normally congested downtown streets in this city of 20 million were almost empty Saturday, and of the few people who ventured outside, many said they did so only out of necessity. Soldiers posted at subway stations handed out face masks to passersby from the back of armored vehicles. Some pedestrians covered their mouths and noses with scarves and rags. "We can't escape the air," said Antonio Gonz?les, 56, who wore a surgical mask outside a public hospital. "If it was something in the food, we'd have a chance." The Mexican government reported more than 1,300 suspected cases of the virus, which mixes animal and human strains of flu. Bars and nightclubs, schools, gallery openings and sporting events were cancelled until further notice. Authorities advised people to wash their hands regularly and avoid the customary greeting of kissing on the cheek. The government issued a decree giving the Health Ministry power to enter people's homes, close public events, isolate patients and inspect travelers and their baggage. The Associated Press reported that another 24 new cases of the flu emerged Saturday in Mexico. Worry and uncertainty seemed contagious. Many people had heard inconsistent reports on how many people were sick or dead, how the flu would manifest itself and which areas, if any, were safe. "The people are disoriented. I think the government doesn't know what they are confronting," said Gonzalo Sari?ana, 40, a university official from the northern city of Monterrey who was in Mexico City. "We are just guarding ourselves, waiting to hear what the government tells us to do." Outside the General Hospital of the 32nd Zone, dozens of people wearing medical masks waited for word about relatives, some of whom had symptoms they suspected could be swine flu. On Friday around 6 p.m., after returning from her job at the airport with Mexicana Airlines, Monserrat Montoya, 22, developed a fever, headache, aching bones and a cough, said her mother, Lourdes Resendes. Montoya was taken to the hospital early Saturday and was put in isolation. Waiting outside the emergency room, Resendes did not know whether her daughter had tested positive for swine flu. "This is very serious, more than anything because this hospital is not prepared for something like this," Resendes said. "There were people here from 11 at night that weren't attended to until 9 in the morning." In remarks at a hospital opening in the southern state of Oaxaca, Calder?n stressed that the flu was curable and that Mexico had sufficient supplies of antiviral medicine to deal with the situation. The Mexico deaths are of particular concern to authorities because the victims have tended to be young, healthy adults, whereas ordinary flu mostly kills infants and the elderly. In New York City, about 200 of the 2,700 students attending St. Francis Preparatory School in Queens had missed school earlier in the week because of flulike symptoms, prompting school officials to notify the health department. A preliminary analysis of viral samples obtained from nose and throat swabs from nine students found that eight tested positive for influenza A. Because none matched the known H1 and H3 subtypes of human flu, they were considered "probable" cases of swine flu, said Thomas R. Frieden, commissioner of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. "We're concerned," Frieden said. "When we see the serious cases in Mexico, and we see it spreading fairly rapidly in one school, it's a situation that has to be monitored very carefully." The St. Francis students had just returned from spring break, during which some may have traveled to Mexico, he said. The WHO, after the committee met for about two hours, described the outbreak as a "public health emergency of international concern" and recommended that countries intensify their efforts to identify "unusual outbreaks of influenza-like illness and severe pneumonia." The committee concluded that it needed more information about the outbreak before any decision could be made about raising the pandemic alert status, which is currently Level 3, meaning very limited spread of virus from person to person. Chan stressed that a pandemic was not yet underway or inevitable, and she noted that no outbreaks had been reported elsewhere. All of the confirmed cases in the southwestern United States -- seven in California and two in Texas -- have been relatively mild. Only one patient has been hospitalized, and no one has died, giving officials hope that the situation may not be as dire as in Mexico. Late Saturday, state health officials in Kansas said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had confirmed two cases of swine flu that involved two adults who lived in the same house. Neither was hospitalized, but one was still ill and undergoing treatment, officials said. One had recently traveled to Mexico, they said. The CDC has dispatched teams to Southern California to help state and local officials and plans to send a team to Texas. The agency is also analyzing samples from other suspected cases and taking steps that would be needed to produce a vaccine if necessary. "We're trying to take action early before things get worse," said Anne Schuchat, the CDC's interim deputy director for science and public health. "We are worried, and because we're worried, we're acting aggressively on a number of fronts." Stein reported from Washington
Hundreds of public concerts, sporting events and meetings were canceled in Mexico City on Saturday as authorities tried to contain an outbreak of swine flu. By MARC LACEY and DONALD G. McNEIL Jr. Published: April 25, 2009 MEXICO CITY ? Alarmed Mexican officials, scrambling to control a swine flu outbreak that has killed as many as 68 people and infected possibly 1,000 more in recent weeks, canceled more public events Saturday in and around the capital and said they were considering keeping schools for millions of students here closed into next week. Officials also announced that two soccer matches scheduled for Sunday would be played without spectators, and hundreds of cultural events have been canceled. The Associated Press reported Saturday that 24 new suspected cases of the flu were reported. Mexico?s health minister, Jos? ?ngel C?rdova, has said the country is dealing with a new flu virus that constitutes a respiratory epidemic that is so far controllable. He said the virus had mutated from pigs and had at some point been transmitted to humans. The new strain contains gene sequences from North American and Eurasian swine flus, North American bird flu and North American human flu, said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A similar virus has been found in the American Southwest, where officials have reported eight nonfatal cases. Most of Mexico?s dead were young, healthy adults, and none were over 60 or under 3 years old, the World Health Organization said. That alarms health officials because seasonal flus cause most of their deaths among infants and bedridden elderly people, but pandemic flus ? like the 1918 Spanish flu, and the 1957 and 1968 pandemics ? often strike young, healthy people the hardest. Mexican officials have been urging people to avoid large gatherings and to refrain from shaking hands or greeting women with a kiss on the right cheek, as is common in Mexico. On Friday, Mexico City closed museums and other cultural venues, and advised people not to attend movies or public events. Seven million students, from kindergartners to college students, were kept from classes in Mexico City and the neighboring State of Mexico on Friday, in what news organizations called the first citywide closing of schools since a powerful earthquake in 1985. Because of the situation, the World Health Organization planned to consider raising the world pandemic flu alert to 4 from 3. Such a high level of alert ? meaning that sustained human-to-human transmission of a new virus has been detected ? has not been reached in recent years, even with the H5N1 avian flu circulating in Asia and Egypt, and would ?really raise the hackles of everyone around the world,? said Dr. Robert G. Webster, a flu virus expert at St. Jude Children?s Research Hospital in Memphis. Mexico?s flu season is usually over by now, but health officials have noticed a significant spike in flu cases since mid-March. The W.H.O. said there had been 800 cases in Mexico in recent weeks, 60 of them fatal, of a flulike illness that appeared to be more serious than the regular seasonal flu. Mr. C?rdova said Friday that there were 1,004 possible cases. Still, only a small number have been confirmed as cases of the new H1N1 swine flu, according to Gregory Hartl, a W.H.O. spokesman. Mexican authorities confirmed 16 deaths from swine flu and said 45 others were under investigation, most of them in the Mexico City area. The C.D.C. said that eight nonfatal cases had been confirmed in the United States, and that it had sent teams to California and Texas to investigate. ?We are worried,? said Dr. Richard Besser, the acting head of the C.D.C. ?We don?t know if this will lead to the next pandemic, but we will be monitoring it and taking it seriously.? There is no point in trying to use containment measures in the United States, he said, because the swine flu virus has already appeared from San Antonio to San Diego, without any obvious connections among cases. Containment measures usually work only when a disease is confined to a small area, he said. The C.D.C. refrained from warning people not to visit Mexico. Even so, the outbreak comes at an awful time for tourism officials, who have been struggling to counter the perception that violence has made Mexico unsafe for travelers. The outbreak was also causing alarm among Mexicans, many of whom rushed to buy masks or get checkups. ?I hope it?s not something grave,? said Claudia Cruz, who took her 11-year-old son, Efrain, to a clinic on Friday after hearing the government warnings. Health officials urged anyone with a fever, a cough, a sore throat, shortness of breath or muscle and joint pain to seek medical attention. When a new virus emerges, it can sweep through the population, said Dr. Anne Moscona, a flu specialist at Cornell University?s medical school. The Spanish flu is believed to have infected at least 25 percent of the United States population, but killed less than 3 percent of those infected. The leading theory on why so many young, healthy people die in pandemics is the ?cytokine storm,? in which vigorous immune systems pour out antibodies to attack the new virus. That can inflame lung cells until they leak fluid, which can overwhelm the lungs, Dr. Moscona said. But older people who have had the flu repeatedly in their lives may have some antibodies that provide cross-protection to the new strain, she said. And immune responses among the aged are not as vigorous. Despite the alarm in recent years over the H5N1 avian flu, which is still circulating in China, Indonesia, Egypt and elsewhere, some flu experts argued that it would never cause a pandemic, because no H5 strain ever had. All previous pandemics have been caused by H1s, H2s or H3s. Among the swine flu cases in the United States, none had had any contact with pigs; cases involving a father and daughter and two 16-year-old schoolmates convinced the authorities that the virus was being transmitted from person to person. In Canada, hit by the SARS epidemic in 2003, health officials urged those who had recently traveled to Mexico and become ill to seek treatment immediately. Marc Lacey reported from Mexico City, and Donald G. McNeil Jr. from New York. Ian Austen contributed reporting from Ottawa.
(Reuters) - An outbreak of swine flu, which has killed up to 81 people in Mexico and infected others in the United States, Canada, Europe and New Zealand, could have a significant economic impact: * The World Bank estimated in 2008, before the current global recession, that a flu pandemic could cost $3 trillion and result in a nearly 5 percent drop in world gross domestic product. * The travel and tourism industries could be severely affected. Travellers may cancel trips and flights and many businesses have plans to limit travel if a pandemic starts. * The Air Transport Association, an airline trade group, said so far there had been no decision to restrict travel between the United States and Mexico. WHO advises countries that restricting flights would be futile once a disease has started spreading. The U.S. Commerce Department says about 5.9 million U.S. citizens flew to Mexico in 2008. * Pork producers in the United States and Mexico could see a drop in sales, but there is no evidence that any of the flu cases stemmed from contact with pigs. Prices for hogs fell on Friday to a two-month low in the United States. Mexico is the No. 2 market for U.S. pork, valued at $691.28 million (470 million pounds). Russia said it had imposed curbs on meat imports from Mexico and the United Arab Emirates said it was considering banning imports of all pork products from Mexico and the United States. * Some drug makers may benefit. Roche Holding AG's and Gilead Sciences Inc.'s Tamiflu and GlaxoSmithKline Plc's and Biota's Relenza are both recommended drugs for seasonal flu and have been shown to work against the new disease. Tamiflu is expected to be in greatest demand in a pandemic as it is a pill. Relenza must be inhaled. * Leading flu vaccine manufacturers, including Sanofi Pasteur, the vaccines division of Sanofi-Aventis SA, Glaxo, Novartis AG and Baxter International Inc, said they were on standby to start the development of a vaccine, which could take months to prepare. * Oil prices, already depressed by the global recession, could fall further if the outbreak hurts travel and economic activity. (Writing by Eric Beech)
Federal authorities Sunday declared a national public-health emergency because of an outbreak of the swine flu. Officials said they have confirmed 20 U.S. cases of the disease so far in various states -- including in Kansas, Colorado's neighbor -- and they expect to see more. So far there have been no confirmed cases in Colorado, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said Sunday. Swine flu is blamed for the deaths of more than 80 people in Mexico in the past several weeks. Human cases of the swine influenza A (H1N1) virus have prompted business and school closures in Mexico City. Symptoms of this swine flu virus closely resemble seasonal flu, and include fever, weakness, coughing and lack of appetite, officials said. Federal authorities said most U.S. cases seen so far have been relatively mild. The emergency declaration was done to give states easier access to flu tests and medicine. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization are concerned about the spread of the swine flu and it possibly being a new stronger strain of the virus because of its spread and toll in Mexico City. There also are fears the swine flu could prompt a flu pandemic that hits across numerous countries. "The majority of these cases have occurred in otherwise healthy young adults. Influenza normally affects the very young and the very old, but these age groups have not been heavily affected in Mexico," the WHO said in a statement. "Because there are human cases associated with an animal influenza virus, and because of the geographical spread of multiple community outbreaks, plus the somewhat unusual age groups affected, these events are of high concern," the WHO also said. Recommendations from health authorities: ? Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it. ? Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective. ? Try to avoid close contact with sick people. ? Sick people should see their doctor and stay home from work. Additional information is available from the Colorado Department of Public Health website at http://www.cdphe.state.co.us/epr/H1N1.html and on the CDC website at http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu/. The Dayton Business Journal contributed to this report.
Mexico, Apr 26 (Prensa Latina) The government in the Federal District (DF) aborted a mass vaccination campaign against hog flu, because it will not stop the outbreak of the new virus that is affecting the Mexican capital and other regions of the country. Following a recommendation from the World Health Organization (WHO), federal and state health authorities decided to abort vaccination. DF Health Secretary Armando Ahued pointed out that vaccines are ruled out at present, "because they would not be effective". According to WHO spokesman Thomas Abraham, the virus that causes the disease is a variant of the H1N1 stem (seasonal influenza). He said this mutation has never been seen, because it is a combination of the genes of the swine flu virus and another that attacks humans. The Geneva-based WHO decided that the current vaccine is not effective to prevent the infection, as it would only kill a part of the germ, the one that attacks humans. Ahued noted that all 28 hospitals administered by the Government of the Federal District would remain open during the weekend to attend to patients showing any symptoms of the disease. He added that the virus could be controlled with the antiviral drug Oseltamivil, which is highly effective during the early stage of the disease. The drug is available and the Federal Secretariat of Health has authorized its administration, he said..
By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor - Analysis WASHINGTON (Reuters) - How widespread is this new swine flu that has killed as many as 81 people in Mexico? How can a swine flu be infecting people? Why has it killed some people and caused only mild symptoms in others? The new strain of H1N1 influenza is behaving just as public health experts expect it to -- that is, unpredictably. "It's very hard to predict exactly," Dr. Anne Schuchat of the U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention told reporters in a conference call. "We all need to all be prepared for change." Within hours on Sunday, officials learned of new cases across the United States and in Canada, for a total of 26, in addition to more than 1,300 suspected cases in Mexico. Influenza can spread quietly, and people who are infected can spread the virus before they even start showing symptoms. One of the biggest problems with flu is that it causes flu-like symptoms -- just like dozens of other viruses and bacteria do. Fever, headache, muscle aches, dry cough, extreme tiredness -- all these can be caused by numerous other infections from the rhinoviruses that cause the common cold to the less-known but also common adenoviruses. "The syndrome that we are hearing about in Mexico is relatively non-specific," Schuchat noted. "There are many different causes of respiratory illnesses." And people die of these common infections every day. Even during the height of the flu season, only 10 percent or less of deaths from "influenza-like illness" are ever confirmed to be influenza. So tracking it is difficult. Health officials all over the world are now testing people with influenza-like symptoms for the new strain of swine flu. It requires DNA tests because it is an influenza A virus -- like two of the strains now causing very common seasonal flu. It is also an H1N1 virus -- one of the seasonal strains. DNA TESTING Not until the DNA is sequenced does it become clear whether a person with influenza has this new and unusual strain of swine flu. "It could be all over the place and they just haven't tested for it," said Mike Osterholm, a former Minnesota state health official who is now director of the Minnesota-based Centre for Infectious Disease Research and Policy. It already has turned up in Mexico, Canada and the United States, and among people who have nothing else apparent in common. That suggests the connection is an as-yet unseen chain of human infections. "It is clear that this is widespread. And that is why we have let you know that we cannot contain the spread of this virus," Schuchat said. This new strain is just what flu experts have worried about. It has DNA from four different strains of flu. While genetically it most closely resembles a swine H1N1 virus, it contains avian flu and human flu sequences as well. While most cases in the United States, Canada and Mexico have been mild, it has killed up to 81 people in Mexico, including some young adults. This is disturbing because flu usually kills the very young, the very old and those with other underlying conditions. "It may look different because we don't have good enough information. It may look different because the virus is different," Schuchat said. Acting CDC director Richard Besser said this virus could itself disappear and reappear. "It's very hard to say," he told a White House briefing on Sunday. "We are nearing the end of the season in which flu viruses tend to transmit easily." Besser said he would expect the number of cases to decline in the northern hemisphere's summer. Other pandemics have come in waves months apart and Besser said this virus could do that. Pandemics hit in 1918 -- killing anywhere between 40 million and 100 million people globally -- and in 1957 and 1968. The 1968 pandemic was relatively mild, with 1 million deaths -- perhaps because the case, an H3N2 virus, was similar to the H3N2 that caused the 1957 pandemic and people had some immunity. H1N1 has been around since the 1918 pandemic, in various forms but no one knows if this strain is different enough to cause widespread and severe disease. Health experts say the world is overdue for another pandemic but have stressed that no one can predict which strain would cause the next one. (Editing by Philip Barbara)
GENEVA - As the World Health Organization warned Saturday that a deadly new flu strain is ``a public health emergency of international concern,'' Mexico confirmed that the outbreak may have killed up to 81 people there. That's 13 more than previously said, and comes as authorities in the United States report more confirmed cases of the new strain of swine flu there, although they stress no deaths have occurred. In Mexico, President Felipe Calderon issued an emergency decree Saturday giving his government special powers to run tests on sick people and order them isolated to fight the deadly flu crisis. Calderon stressed the flu is curable and he said health authorities easily had enough antiviral medicine for the 1,000 or so people suspected of being infected with the swine flu and that his government was monitoring the situation ``minute by minute.'' But jittery Mexicans were buying up surgical masks and foodstuffs Saturday, and the government had suspended public events and closed bars, restaurants and schools to try to halt the spread of the virus. Earlier Saturday, after a meeting of WHO's emergency committee, the UN agency said it was recommending that ``all countries intensify surveillance for unusual outbreaks of influenza-like illness and severe pneumonia.'' So far, the swine flu strain has been confined to Mexico and a handful of U. S. states. There are no confirmed cases in Canada, where reports that two people were quarantined in Montreal suspected of being infected with the strain were strongly denied Saturday. In Colombia, five people who arrived from Mexico with flu symptoms were being monitored. There is also one possible case in London - a member of an aircrew who was taken to a London hospital as a precaution after developing flu- like symptoms on a flight from Mexico City. As far away as Hong Kong and Japan, health officials stepped up checks of travellers with flu-like symptoms, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it was actively looking for new infections in the United States. WHO chief Margaret Chan said in a teleconference the outbreak is ``clearly an animal strain of the H1N1 virus and it has pandemic potential because it is infecting people. ``However, we cannot say on the basis of currently available laboratory, epidemiological and clinical evidence whether or not it will indeed cause a pandemic." The United Nations health agency has warned for several years that a new virus strain could spark a human influenza pandemic that could sweep around the globe and kill millions. ``Experts at WHO and elsewhere believe that the world is now closer to another influenza pandemic than at any time since 1968, when the last of the previous century's three pandemics occurred,'' reads a media statement on the agency's website. WHO's pandemic alert currently stands at level 3, which indicates ``no or very limited human-to-human transmission.'' WHO officials have not decided yet whether to increase the alert level to 4 or higher, saying Saturday that ``more information is needed before a decision could be made concerning the appropriateness of the current phase 3.'' Level 4 would confirm evidence of ``increased human to human transmission.'' The new strain, which causes severe respiratory illnesses, has killed up to 68 people in Mexico. On Friday, Canadian Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq said the Canadian government is monitoring the situation closely and "will take further action as necessary." "While there is no immediate threat to Canadians at this time, we will always be vigilant," Aglukkaq said. Meanwhile, a public health official Saturday dismissed reports of two Canadians quarantined in a Montreal hospital in connection with the flu outbreak as a ``rumour.'' Johanne Simard, an official of the Montreal regional health board, says there are no cases of swine flu at Lakeshore General Hospital and no quarantines in effect. In the United States, Kansas state health officials confirmed two cases of swine flu there on Saturday, minutes after New York health officials said they had eight probable cases. Tests have confirmed that eight New York City schoolchildren had a type A influenza virus, likely swine flu, city health commissioner Dr. Thomas Frieden said Saturday. Samples have been sent to the CDC for further testing to see if they are indeed the new H1N1 flu strain, Frieden told a news conference. A seventh case of the new flu was confirmed in California on Saturday, state health officials said. Meanwhile, a British Airways cabin crew member was taken to a London hospital as a precaution after developing flu-like symptoms on a flight from Mexico City, the airline said on Saturday. It was the first such reported precautionary measure in Britain since the new flu strain was reported. While Chan said there were currently no indications of outbreaks elsewhere in the world, WHO's designation of the outbreak as ``a public health emergency of international concern'' indicates the agency is alarmed at the prospect of the flu strain spreading outside of North America. "It would be prudent for health officials within countries to be alert to outbreaks of influenza-like illness or pneumonia, especially if these occur outside in months outside the usual peak influenza season," added Chan, a former health director of Hong Kong. Health officials worldwide should also be alert to large incidences of severe or fatal flu-like illness in groups other than young children and the elderly, the ages usually at highest risk from normal seasonal flu, she said. Most of the dead in Mexico were aged between 25 and 45. WHO experts have been deployed in Mexico to help health authorities with disease surveillance, laboratory diagnosis and clinical management of cases. The WHO stood ready with antiviral drugs to combat the outbreaks in Mexico. But authorities have a sizable supply of the drug Tamiflu, which has proved effective against the new virus, according to the WHO. "Influenza viruses are notoriously unpredictable and full of surprises, as we are seeing right now," Chan said. "We need to know how the virus is spread, what is the transmission pattern and whether or not it is going to cause severe disease and in what age group," she said. It was "too premature at this stage" for the WHO to announce any travel advisories, as better analysis of the cases and other clinical data was required, Chan said. But the agency's experts would address the issue of travel advisories. "We do not yet have a complete picture of the epidemiology or the risk, including possible spread beyond the currently affected areas," Chan said. "Nonetheless, in the assessment of WHO, this is a serious situation which must be watched very closely." It was also too soon for the UN agency to advise drugmakers to switch to producing a new vaccine - to be derived from the new virus - from their traditional production of seasonal influenza vaccines, she said. FACT BOX Determining alert levels The World Health Organization uses a series of six phases of pandemic alert as a system for informing the world of the seriousness of the threat and of the need to launch progressively more intense preparedness activities. The designation of phases, including decisions on when to move from one phase to another, is made by the Director-General of WHO. Each phase of alert coincides with a series of recommended activities to be undertaken by WHO, the international community, governments, and industry. Changes from one phase to another are triggered by several factors, which include the epidemiological behaviour of the disease and the characteristics of circulating viruses. The phases range from Level 1 (low risk of human cases) to Level 6 (efficient and sustained human-to-human transmission). The world is now in Phase 3 (a new influenza virus subtype is causing disease in humans, but is not yet spreading efficiently and sustainably among humans). Source: World Health Organization
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