Swine Flu Pandemic is Possible

A swine flu outbreak in Mexico is causing concern for a possible pandemic within the United States.  

According to the New York Times, “the World Health Organization decided not raise the pandemic alert level in the wake of a swine flu outbreak in Mexico, while public health officials in the United States said they would continue to monitor the virus, which appeared to be spreading.”

Not much is known about the swine flu (H1N1) and its epidemiology, virology and other related clinical features.  “This situation is evolving quickly,” Dr. Margaret Chan, secretary-general of the World Health Organization, said in a telephone news conference. “A new disease is by definition poorly understood.”

Although this disease is evolving rather quickly, only eight cases in the U.S. have been confirmed, while as many as 61 people have died in Mexico in addition to 1,000 others who are infected, according to Mexican officials.

If things do get out of control, “the United States has a detailed pandemic preparedness plan that was written in 2005 during the early years of the scare over H5N1 bird flu. But one person involved in planning said that federal officials were ‘not pulling the trigger on any part of it yet.'”

These events are indeed intimidating, and people should use extreme caution if entering Mexico or interacting with anyone who has recently been to Mexico.  Hopefully within the next couple of days, more information will be leaked as government and health officials are further briefed concerning this sensitive situation and time.

 

Image by New York Times

Image by New York Times

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~ by jrn320afigueroa on April 25, 2009.

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