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#313146 - 26th Apr 2009 1:36pm Mexico flu sparks worldwide fear

Mexico flu sparks worldwide fear

Mexican authorities have taken drastic measures to contain a new strain of the swine flu virus that has killed 81 and prompted fears of a global pandemic.

People are being urged to stay at home and maintain strict personal hygiene. Many schools, public buildings, bars and restaurants have been closed.

Non-fatal cases have been confirmed in the US and are likely in New Zealand.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has confirmed that at least some of the cases are a new strain of the virus.

H1N1 is the same strain that causes seasonal flu outbreaks in humans, but the newly detected version contains genetic material from versions of flu which usually affect pigs and birds.

The respiratory virus - which infects pigs but only sporadically humans - is spread mainly through coughs and sneezes.

The WHO has warned the virus has the potential to become a pandemic.

Several countries in Asia and Latin America have begun screening airport passengers for symptoms.

Suspected outbreaks

Although all of the deaths so far have been in Mexico, the flu is spreading in the United States and suspected cases have been detected elsewhere:

Eleven confirmed infections in the US
In addition, eight suspected cases are being investigated at a New York City high school where about 200 students fell mildly ill with flu-like symptoms
Ten New Zealand students are among a group which travelled to Mexico have tested positive for influenza A - making it "likely", though not definite, that they are infected with swine flu, said Health Minister Tony Ryall
In France, a top health official told Le Parisien newspaper there were unconfirmed suspicions that two individuals who had just returned from Mexico may be carrying the virus
In Israel, medics are testing a 26-year-old man who has been taken to hospital with flu-like symptoms after returning from a trip to Mexico
But a UK hospital conducting tests for swine flu on a British Airways cabin crew member said the tests proved negative.
Mexico shutdown

The Mexican government, which has faced criticism for what some see as a slow reaction to this outbreak, is now taking an increasingly hard line to try to contain the virus, says the BBC's Stephen Gibbs in Mexico City.

Public buildings have been closed and hundreds of public events suspended.

Schools in and around Mexico City have been closed until 6 May, and some 70% of bars and restaurants in the capital have been temporarily closed.

People are being strongly urged to avoid shaking hands, and the US embassy has advised visitors to the country to keep at least six feet (1.8m) from other people.

Mexico's Health Secretary, Jose Cordova, said a total of 1,324 people had been admitted to hospital with suspected symptoms since 13 April and were being tested for the virus.

"In that same period, 81 deaths were recorded probably linked to the virus but only in 20 cases we have the laboratory tests to confirm it," he said.

Mexico's President Felipe Calderon has announced emergency measures to deal with the situation.

They include powers to isolate individuals suspected of having the virus without fear of legal repercussions.

'International concern'

In the US, seven people in California, two people in Texas, and two people in Kansas have been infected with the new strain.

In New York, city health commissioner Dr Thomas Frieden said preliminary tests conducted on the ailing students showed they were possible cases of swine flu.

Further tests will clarify if it was the same strain that was detected in the other three states.

Following a meeting of its emergency committee on Saturday, the WHO said the virus had the potential to become a pandemic but it was too early to say whether that would happen.

WHO Director General Margaret Chan said recent events constituted "a public health emergency of international concern" and that countries needed to co-operate in heightening surveillance.

The WHO is advising all countries to be vigilant for seasonally unusual flu or pneumonia-like symptoms among their populations - particularly among young healthy adults, a characteristic of past pandemics.

Officials said most of those killed so far in Mexico were young adults - rather than more vulnerable children and the elderly.

There is currently no vaccine for the new strain but severe cases can be treated with antiviral medication.

It is unclear how effective currently available flu vaccines would be at offering protection against the new strain, as it is genetically distinct from other flu strains.



1918: The Spanish flu pandemic remains the most devastating outbreak of modern times - infecting up to 40% of the world's population and killing more than 50m people, with young adults particularly badly affected

1957: Asian flu killed two million people. Caused by a human form of the virus, H2N2, combining with a mutated strain found in wild ducks. The elderly were particularly vulnerable

1968: An outbreak first detected in Hong Kong, and caused by a strain known as H3N2, killed up to one million people globally, with those over 65 most likely to die

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#313149 - 26th Apr 2009 1:42pm Re: Mexico flu sparks worldwide fear [Re: ]
Wheels Offline
Wiki Veteran

Registered: 4th Jan 2005
Posts: 8795
Loc: Tranmere

wash your hands people smile

#313152 - 26th Apr 2009 2:08pm Re: Mexico flu sparks worldwide fear [Re: Wheels]

We all all DOOMED !!

#313159 - 26th Apr 2009 2:31pm Re: Mexico flu sparks worldwide fear [Re: ]

Wiki Master

Registered: 29th Aug 2008
Posts: 18950
Loc: Bob Land
Think its scare- mongering meself!
Mia Mabel

#313516 - 27th Apr 2009 8:09pm Re: Mexico flu sparks worldwide fear [Re: RUDEBOX]
Riki_Wirral Offline

Registered: 10th Oct 2008
Posts: 215
Loc: Claughton

#313519 - 27th Apr 2009 8:12pm Re: Mexico flu sparks worldwide fear [Re: Riki_Wirral]
Riki_Wirral Offline

Registered: 10th Oct 2008
Posts: 215
Loc: Claughton
I have been wondering how people get diseases from I know!


#313525 - 27th Apr 2009 8:45pm Re: Mexico flu sparks worldwide fear [Re: RUDEBOX]
Snodvan Offline

Forum Addict

Registered: 19th Mar 2008
Posts: 1249
Loc: Wallasey Village
Originally Posted By: RUDEBOX
Think its scare- mongering meself!

I don't. I think there is the POTENTIAL for a very real problem. Statistically we (the world) are well overdue for a nasty version of flu and coupled with the vast increase in international travel since the last one we can be fairly certain that the next one will spread real fast. One issue is whether the virus will continue to mutate and in doing so will lose some of the potency against humans. Virus mutation is a complex subject but basically the virus does NOT WANT to be lethal to the host - or it will kill itself together with the host and that does not achieve anything

Did anyone hear the Mexican doctor on and early (5 or 6 am) BBC News programme? He was very clearly stating that the REAL situation was a lot worse than the authorities (in Mexico) were admitting - for example he and his medical colleagues had been told not to report deaths/ illness as due to piggy flu but to variations on "respiratory failure".

When the SARS/ Birdie flu who-ha was on a couple of years ago a colleague of mine in the USA (a medical prof and on various govenmental advisory committees) was declared to be a 'key worker' and was asked to (quietly) keep 6 weeks stock of food and water in his house. He did that. This was to cater for the event of an infrastructure breakdown should a large number of the population be too debilitated to work. Given the guy weighed 25+ stone I often wondered what his 6 weeks of food would look like! I have lost touch with the guy now but I wonder if he has received similar instructions given the current scenario?

5 Precepts of Buddhism seem appropriate. Refrain from taking life. Refrain from taking that which is not given. Refrain from misconduct. Refrain from lying. Refrain from intoxicants which lead to loss of mindfulness

#313556 - 27th Apr 2009 9:55pm Re: Mexico flu sparks worldwide fear [Re: Snodvan]
Riki_Wirral Offline

Registered: 10th Oct 2008
Posts: 215
Loc: Claughton
Interesting stuff snod

#314546 - 1st May 2009 11:59am Re: Mexico flu sparks worldwide fear [Re: Riki_Wirral]

Mexico shuts down to control flu

Mexico is beginning a five-day shutdown of parts of its economy in a bid to slow the spread of swine flu.

Non-essential government services will stop, while businesses like cinemas and restaurants will be shut. Traditional May Day rallies have been cancelled.

Mexican officials say the spread of the virus - suspected in more than 160 deaths - is slowing, but international experts are more cautious.

Swine flu cases have now been confirmed in 12 countries over three continents.

In cases outside Mexico the virus does not appear to be severe, although one death has been confirmed in the US.

The WHO has set its pandemic alert level at five - but says it has no immediate plans to move to the highest level of six.

Economy fears

The shut-down in Mexico covers two public holidays and a weekend.

It extends nationwide a policy already in place in the capital Mexico City, where most restaurants, cinemas and bars have been closed since last weekend.

City authorities say initial evidence suggests infection rates there are slowing.

Some factories will stop production and schools are already closed. Residents have been urged to stay at home.

But some people say they will ignore it because they cannot afford not to work.

There is also growing concern at the effect the virus could have on Mexico's already-struggling economy.

The number of confirmed cases of swine flu infection in Mexico now stands at about 300, officials say.

Twelve people are known to have died from the virus and it is suspected in more than 160 other deaths.

Announcing the figures, Mexican Health Secretary Jose Angel Cordova said that new cases of the virus were levelling off.

"The fact that we have a stabilisation in the daily numbers, even a drop, makes us optimistic," he said.

But Dr Keiji Fukuda, acting assistant director general of the World Health Organisation, said fluctuations were to be expected. "If it didn't do that [it] would be very unusual," he said.

In other developments:

The US has announced that it will buy 13 million new courses of antiviral treatment and send 400,000 of them to Mexico

An aide to US Energy Secretary Stephen Chu who helped arrange President Obama's recent trip to Mexico is being tested for swine flu, AP reports, although the aide is said not to have been in contact with the president

German authorities confirm that a nurse who treated a patient with swine flu also contracted the disease, in the first person-to-person transmission in the country

Test results are expected to confirm the UK's first person-to-person transmission of swine flu, in a friend of a couple from Scotland who were first in the country to be diagnosed with the virus

Mexico says it will lodge a formal challenge at the World Trade Organisation demanding explanations from countries that have banned imports of Mexican pork products

'No panic'

On Thursday European health ministers held an emergency meeting on measures to tackle the virus, which has been confirmed in six European countries.

EU Health Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou said Europe was well prepared to handle swine flu and there was "no need to panic".

The ministers agreed to work with pharmaceutical companies to develop a vaccine, but rejected a French plan to suspend flights to Mexico.

Several countries have restricted travel to Mexico and many tour operators have cancelled holidays.

The WHO, meanwhile, says it will now call the virus influenza A (H1N1) rather than swine flu - which it says is misleading as pork meat is safe and the virus is being transmitted from human to human.


#314550 - 1st May 2009 12:24pm Re: Mexico flu sparks worldwide fear [Re: ]

Human-to-human UK flu case feared

The first case of human-to-human transfer of swine flu in Britain is expected to be confirmed by officials.

An unnamed man fell ill after being in contact with Iain and Dawn Askham, of Polmont, near Falkirk - Britain's first confirmed victims of the disease - when they returned from their Mexican honeymoon.

He was initially cleared but after continuing to show symptoms, further tests confirmed he was suffering from Type A flu, and he is now being treated with anti-viral drugs at home.

Dr Harry Burns, Scotland's chief medical officer, said: "My understanding is he is through the worst of it, he has had Tamiflu as a contact." The individual's own contacts are now being followed up.

But Dr Alan McNally, senior lecturer and influenza diagnostics researcher at Nottingham Trent University, said human-to-human transmission within the UK would not be a significant development.

He said: "I don't think it is any more significant. We know that it is transmitted from human to human, it has happened in other parts of the world and we know it will happen here."

But he added: "I know that there will be interest in it because members of the public will see that they don't need to have been to Mexico to get it."

He said that the vast majority of the UK's 230 possible cases currently being investigated were likely to have originated from contact with other infected people.

The total number of people in the UK suffering the disease also rose to eight after the Department of Health confirmed that three more people had been diagnosed - two in London and one in the North East.

There are now eight confirmed cases in the UK - six in England, and two in Scotland.


#314598 - 1st May 2009 6:03pm Re: Mexico flu sparks worldwide fear [Re: ]

Wife calls hubby from the petrol station .... "Help, I've run out of petrol, and I'm scared to fill up in case I catch that swine flu there"

Hubby says...."you daft bint,

its mexico not texaco"

#314603 - 1st May 2009 6:06pm Re: Mexico flu sparks worldwide fear [Re: ]
bert1 Offline

Wiki Veteran

Registered: 27th Nov 2008
Posts: 7822
Loc: tranmere
God help us,
Come yourself,
Don't send Jesus,
This is no place for children.



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