Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Swine Flu Sweeps the Globe

The World Health Organization has reported that 1300 cases of Swine Flu have been confirmed worldwide. 149 deaths alone have been reported in Mexico, where the virus appears to have started. The United States has not yet reported any deaths, despite 40 known cases of infection in New York, Texas, California, Kansas and Ohio. Cases have also been reported Scotland, Israel, Spain, and New Zealand.

The U.S. Center for Disease Control announced that it would recommend no nonessential travel to Mexico “out of an abundance of caution.” Another method of precaution will be that border patrols in ports and airports will ask travelers about their health. Seven of these cases have been found in U.S.-Mexico border areas including Imperial and San Diego counties in California, as reported by the California Department of Public Health.

Ronald Owens, spokesperson for the CDPH said, “Swine flu is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A influenza viruses that causes regular outbreaks in pigs.”

The virus principally attacks pigs, with a low rate of immortality and rarely affects humans. There have been only 12 reported cases of swine flu from December 2005 until February 2009.

In a press conference yesterday at the White House, Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Homeland Security said that states and municipalities will receive funds to help with prevention of this epidemic.

The U.S. has declared a “public health emergency,” though Janet Napolitano yesterday cautioned, “That sounds more severe than really it is.”

Napolitano has been designated by President Barack Obama to lead efforts for this epidemic, now that it has already become an epidemic in Mexico. In Mexico City, authorities have closed all schools and universities until further notice because of the virus, and military troops distributed 4 million filter masks in the city of 20 million residents.

According to Mexico City Mayor Manuel Ebrard many of those affected are young adults, “Fifteen people in Mexico City who are suspected to have died from the virus were 25 to 37 years old.” The high proportion of young adults among the fatalities is one of several mysteries about this recent epidemic.

La Opinión

Los Angeles Times