Wednesday, July 24, 2024

First U.S. Swine Flu Death Occurs in Texas

U.S. officials have confirmed early this morning that the first U.S. death has occurred from swine flu. The victim a native of Mexico was a 23- month old toddler who had been in Houston seeking medical treatment.

To date, the strain of the flu is suspected to have killed more than 150 people in Mexico and has been confirmed in at least seven countries around the globe, from Spain to Canada to New Zealand.

Kathy Barton, a spokeswoman for the Houston Health and Human Services Department, said that the child had traveled with family from Mexico to Brownsville in south Texas, and later transferred to a hospital in Houston.

President Barack Obama asked Congress for $1.5 billion in emergency funds to help build more drug stockpiles, monitor future cases, and help international efforts to avoid a full-fledged pandemic. The U.S. is shipping to states not only enough anti-flu medication for 11 million people, but also masks, hospital supplies and flu test kits.

World Health Organization’s flu chief, Dr Keiji Fukuda  said in a news conference, “It’s a very serious possibility, but it is still too early to say that this is inevitable.”

The WHO has called a third emergency meeting in response to a spike in cases and said the expert panel will discuss whether to raise the worldwide flu alert level.

Cuba and Argentina have banned flights to Mexico where swine flu is suspected of killing more than 150 people and infecting 2,000.

Dr. Jesse Goodman, who oversees the Food and Drug Administration’s swine flu work told the Associated Press, “We’re working together at 100 miles an hour to get material that will be useful.”

Associated Press

Houston Chronicle