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News Reports for April 24, 2009

by: NewsDiary

Fri Apr 17, 2009 at 23:50:38 PM EDT


Indonesia
•  Three Ponorogo Residents Are Bird Flu Suspects (Link)
United States/Mexico: Swine Flu
•  Swine flu cases in US, mystery ailment in Mexico have experts scrambling (Link)
•  Swine flu cases up to 7; officials expand probe (Link)
•  Mexico shuts schools around capital in flu scare (Link)
•  Unusual Strain of Swine Flu Is Found in People in 2 States (Link)  
•  Investigators await samples in swine flu outbreak (Link)
•  Swine flu kills 60 in Mexico, moves to US: WHO (Link)
•  Swine Flu in U.S., Mexico Lung Illness Heighten Pandemic Risk (Link to Jason Gale article)
•  Mexico: Calderon cancels visit due to the national epidemic of influenza (Link)
•  Mystery illness found in tourists to Mexico (Link to Helen Branswell article)
•  WHO concerned at new swine flu in US, flu in Mexico (Link)
•  Mexico confirms its flu (Link)
•  Obama fully briefed on swine flu (Link)
•  Mexico City launches massive vaccination campaign against swine flu (Link)
•  Deadly new flu breaks out in Mexico, U.S. (Link)
•  3rd possible swine flu outbreak in Mexico  (Link)
•  Will Swine Flu Panic Spread Beyond Mexico?  (Link)
•  Boy, 7, Is San Diego's 4th Case of Swine Flu  (Link)
•  AP Video on Swine Flu (Link)
•  US concerns grow over swine flu with new case (Link)
Vietnam
•  23-year-old woman has died from H5N1 bird flu (Link)
Commentary
•  Sustained Human Transmission of Swine H1N1 (Link)
•  California and Texas Swine Flu Clusters Raise Concerns (Link)
•  Sixty Swine Flu Fatalities In Mexico Confirms Pandemic Start (Link)
•  Daily Kos: Brief Swine Flu Update (Link)
General News
•  WHO calls emergency meeting on swine flu (Link)
•  WHO Said Mexico and Calif swine flu identical (Link)
•  CDC - too late to contain 24 Apr 2009 (Link)
•  CDC Readies Vaccine (Link)
NewsDiary :: News Reports for April 24, 2009
News for April 23, 2009 is here.



U.S. Human Cases of Swine Flu Infection
State # of laboratory
confirmed cases
California 5 cases
Texas 2 cases
International Human Cases of Swine Flu Infection
Country # of laboratory
confirmed cases
Mexico 7 cases
Last updated April 24,2009
NOTE: Only international human cases confirmed by CDC laboratories will be reported

Source: CDC Swine Flu Investigation page

Thanks to all of the newshounds! Special thanks to the newshound volunteers who translate international stories - thanks for keeping us all informed!
Other useful links:
WHO H5N1 human case totals, last updated Apr. 23, 2009
Charts and Graphs on H5N1 from WHO
Google Flu Trends (U.S.)
CDC Weekly Influenza Summary
Map of seasonal influenza in the U.S.
CDC Morbidity & Mortality Weekly Report
CIDPC (Canada) Weekly FluWatch
European CDC Influenza News
Flu Wiki Main Page
Tags: , , (All Tags)
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Swine flu cases in US,
mystery ailment in Mexico have experts scrambling

TORONTO - Concurrent outbreaks of human cases of swine flu in the southwestern United States and a mystery respiratory illness in Mexico had health authorities across the continent struggling Thursday to figure out what is unfolding.

Laboratories in Atlanta and Winnipeg are looking at clinical specimens trying to determine if the mounting number of human cases of swine flu - seven and counting - in California and Texas, and an unusual explosion of severe respiratory illnesses in Mexico are pieces of the same puzzle or confusing coincidences. Even on its own the human infections with swine flu viruses are significant enough to have experts wondering whether the world is watching the start of a flu pandemic.

But official pronouncements are being crafted with caution by authorities, who remember all too well the 1976 swine flu scare - a feared pandemic that didn't materialize. The World Health Organization, which has been monitoring the situation, said at this point it does not believe the threat of a pandemic - the first since the 1968 Hong Kong flu - has risen. "We would not see any evidence yet for this being a phase change," said WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl, referring to the organization's six step pandemic alert scale. The world is currently at phase 3 - occasional human cases with a novel flu virus - because of ongoing sporadic human infections with the H5N1 avian flu virus.
"We never want to overestimate or underestimate something, so we're following it closely," Hartl said from Geneva. "But as of the moment we see no evidence to change the global pandemic phase."

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control, which earlier in the week revealed they had found two human cases of swine flu, announced Thursday that the number of confirmed cases has risen to seven. There are two clusters, a father-daughter pairing and two 16 year old boys who attended the same school. Symptoms are similar to seasonal flu, though there are more reports of vomiting and diarrhea that is seen with regular flu. All of the cases have recovered, though one person required hospitalization. It appears none of the cases had contact with pigs.

"We believe at this point that human-to-human spread is occurring," said Dr. Anne Schuchat, director of the CDC's national centre for immunization and respiratory diseases. "That's unusual. We don't know yet how widely it's spreading. And we certainly don't know the extent of the problem."

Genetic sequencing done to date reveals a seemingly unique influenza A virus of the H1N1 subtype made up of a distinctive mix of swine, bird and human flu virus genes.
There have been no reports of this virus in pigs, said Dr. Marie Gramer, a swine flu expert with the University of Minnesota's college of veterinary medicine.

"It doesn't seem to be very similar to anything that is currently circulating, from what I have," said Gramer, who has an extensive library of swine flu virus isolates. Continued: http://www.medicinehatnews.com...


Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. --Unknown

     


They may just prove us right!
Many of us on the forums have said that the WHO won't change the phase until we reach level 6.....well it looks like the IDIOTS just might prove we were right about that!!

"We would not see any evidence yet for this being a phase change," said WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl, referring to the organization's six step pandemic alert scale."

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. --Unknown

     


[ Parent ]
I agree, Carol. I'm getting real worried about this confluence of "unusual" cases worldwide.
the 1918 pandemic started in a similar fashion, with outbreaks here and there of a relatively mild flu that then mutated into the severe one.

Here's an excerpt of its progression

Wave After Wave:The Unfolding of the Pandemic:
The pandemic of 1918-1919 occurred in three waves. The first wave had occurred when mild influenza erupted in the late spring and summer of 1918. The second wave occurred with an outbreak of severe influenza in the fall of 1918 and the final wave occurred in the spring of 1919.
http://1918.pandemicflu.gov/th...

Now, as then, we have epidemics occuring at a time that is normally the end of the regular flu season. We have a mild version of flu here with good H2H transmissability, a really severe flu across the world in Asia and Egypt with poor H2H. So when the North American novel flu pandemic gets to asia - or when East meets West - we could get a recombination that blends the transmissability of the Western flu with the lethality of the Eastern one.

I have my ear to the ground, and I think that rumbling sound I hear is a freight train bearing down, not my stomach.

Always have a plan B.


[ Parent ]
Confluence
Thanks for reminding us of the historical parallels, Mary.  Ominous!

[ Parent ]
Swine flu cases up to 7; officials expand probe
ATLANTA - Health officials are investigating a never-before-seen form of the flu that combines pig, bird and human viruses and which has infected seven people in California and Texas. All the victims recovered, but the cases are a growing medical mystery because it's unclear how they caught the virus. None of the seven people were in contact with pigs, which is how people usually catch swine flu. And only a few were in contact with each other, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Still, health officials said it's not a cause for public alarm: The five in California and two in Texas have all recovered, and testing indicates some mainstream antiviral medications seem to work against the virus.

Dr. Anne Schuchat of the CDC said officials believe it can spread human-to-human, which is unusual for a swine flu virus. The CDC is checking people who have been in contact with the seven confirmed cases, who all became ill between late March and mid-April. Because of intensive searching, it's likely health officials will find additional cases, said Schuchat, director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.

CDC officials detected a virus with a unique combination of gene segments that have not been seen in people or pigs before. The bug contains human virus, avian virus from North America and pig viruses from North America, Europe and Asia. Health officials have seen mixes of bird, pig and human virus before, but never such an intercontinental combination with more than one pig virus in the mix.

Scientists keep a close eye on flu viruses that emerge from pigs. The animals are considered particularly susceptible to both avian and human viruses and a likely place where the kind of genetic reassortment can take place that might lead to a new form of pandemic flu, said Dr. John Treanor, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

The virus may be something completely new, or it may have been around for a while but was only detected now because of improved lab testing and disease surveillance, CDC officials said. Continued: http://www.kvue.com/news/top/s...


Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. --Unknown

     


Are the pig viruses similar to the Phillippine outbreak?
The bug contains human virus, avian virus from North America and pig viruses from North America, Europe and Asia. Health officials have seen mixes of bird, pig and human virus before, but never such an intercontinental combination with more than one pig virus in the mix.

I was wondering if the genetics from these particular viruses are in any way related to the unusual outbreak in the Phillippines earlier this year (or late last year, can't recall for certain). Does any one know if they are related?


[ Parent ]
Philippine outbreak
was Ebola-Reston, not influenza (link)

[ Parent ]
If I remember correctly
There was also an outbreak of "swine cholera" or swine flu or some such swine respiratory disease.  

[ Parent ]
It was swine flu I was thinking of ...
although I'd forgotten about the Ebola. I'll do some research to see what I can find. I riase a few hogs, so this is very interesting for me.

[ Parent ]
Good catch, Okieman
From Wikipedia:
The Philippine hog cholera outbreak of 2007

On August 20, 2007, Department of Agriculture officers investigated the outbreak of swine flu in Nueva Ecija and Central Luzon, Philippines. The mortality rate is less than 10 % for swine flu, if there are no complications like hog cholera. Earlier, or on July 27, 2007, the Philippine National Meat Inspection Service (NMIS) raised a hog cholera "red alert" warning over Metro Manila and 5 regions of Luzon after the disease spread to backyard pig farms in Bulacan and Pampanga, even if these tested negative for the swine flu virus.


[ Parent ]
Sustained Human Transmission of Swine H1N1
Recombinomics Commentary April 23, 2009

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.

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.

Yesterday there were reports of suspect cases in the Imperial Valley. It is likely that these cases will be confirmed and additional cases will be identified in both counties.

Moreover, it is also likely that there are additional cases in Mexico, which borders both counties.  The relationship of the US cases to reported outbreaks of influenza and atypical pneumonia in Mexico remain to be determined, but the confirmed cases in California represent sustained transmission of a swine influenza in the human population, which is cause for concern. http://www.recombinomics.com/N...

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. --Unknown

     


Carol -
I sent you an email tonight.

[ Parent ]
Nice to hear from you....
I replied.

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. --Unknown

     


[ Parent ]
You, too, Carol -
I popped you back a note, too.

Get some sleep (if you can).


[ Parent ]
Unusual Strain of Swine Flu Is Found in People in 2 States

By DONALD G. McNEIL Jr.
Published: April 24, 2009
New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04...

An unusual strain of swine flu is circulating among people in the Southwest but is not known to have caused any deaths, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday.

The agency, which has found only seven cases, expects to find more now that it has begun looking intensively for them.

"We don't yet know the extent of the problem," said Dr. Anne Schuchat, the director of respiratory diseases for the agency, "but we don't think this is a time for major concern."

Five of the people infected were in Imperial and San Diego Counties in California and two were in San Antonio. They were 9 to 54 years old.

None had any contact with pigs, and in two sets of cases - involving a father and daughter and two 16-year-old schoolmates - those infected had contact with each other. That convinced the authorities that the virus was being transmitted from person to person.

The seven people were apparently infected from late March to mid-April. Only one was hospitalized, and all recovered.

The A (H1N1) flu strain they had was quite unusual, said Dr. Nancy Cox, the chief of the agency's flu division. It contained gene segments from North American swine, bird and human flu strains as well as one from Eurasian swine.

Like some human strains, it is resistant to two older flu drugs, amantadine and rimantadine. It is not resistant to Tamiflu or Relenza. However, Tamiflu resistance is common in the H1N1 human flu strain circulating this year, so the swine strain could become resistant to Tamiflu if the viruses mixed in humans or, possibly, in pigs.

Swine flus rarely infect humans. There have been about a dozen cases since 2005, but almost all were in farm workers or others in contact with pigs.

In 1976, there was a cluster of swine flu cases among soldiers at Fort Dix, in New Jersey, one of whom died. That led to a rush to make a new vaccine and administer it to 40 million Americans. No epidemic materialized, but thousands of people claimed that the vaccine had given them Guillain-Barré syndrome, which can cause lethargy or paralysis. The episode led to the resignation of the director of the disease control center, and the agency has been wary of causing panic over influenza cases ever since.

The unusual strain this year was noticed, Dr. Schuchat said, only because the agency was trying out a new diagnostic test at a Navy laboratory and doing more testing than usual through a new Border Infectious Disease Surveillance Project along the Mexican border.

Officials at the public health agency in Canada said their Mexican counterparts had warned them this week of a "relatively high" fatality rate for people in Mexico who have had respiratory illnesses this season, some of whom had tested positive for flu. Asked about that, American officials said they had no information. A spokesman said the disease control center had asked Mexican officials to send samples for testing.

The United States flu season is tailing off now. It has been relatively mild; the major surprise had been the widespread Tamiflu resistance in the circulating human H1N1 strain.

Dr. Cox of the disease control center said officials did not yet know whether the flu shot this year protected against the new swine strain


Yes, it's certainly curiously unusual:
.
The A (H1N1) flu strain they had was quite unusual, said Dr. Nancy Cox, the chief of the agency's flu division. It contained gene segments from North American swine, bird and human flu strains as well as one from Eurasian swine.

The key question is:  do the viral sequences of this apparently novel strain found in Mexico California, Texas, and Canada all match?  

If so, that's the technical definition of a Phase 6 of a pandemic according to WHO criteria.  

Not reassuring is this, on several levels:

Officials at the public health agency in Canada said their Mexican counterparts had warned them this week of a "relatively high" fatality rate for people in Mexico who have had respiratory illnesses this season, some of whom had tested positive for flu. Asked about that, American officials said they had no information.


[ Parent ]
Mexico shuts schools around capital in flu scare
http://ca.reuters.com/article/...

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico is canceling classes for millions of children in the heart of the country on Friday after influenza killed around 20 people in recent weeks. [snip]

Mexican Health Minister Jose Angel Cordoba said on Thursday schools and universities in Mexico City and the surrounding area would be closed on Friday and advised people with flu symptoms to stay home from work. "We recommend avoiding places or events with a lot of people unless strictly necessary," Cordoba said. [snip]

About 79 people in Mexico are being treated for flu and that number has not increased in recent days, the Health Ministry said. (continued)


Mexico closes schools . . .
And we here in the US still debate whether it'd be a good idea.

There's a point there, somewhere!


[ Parent ]
Clsoing schools in Mexico
 I hope we (US, UK, CA,NL,RU, etc) learn from this and plan accordingly.
People act "as if it could happen here"
KObie
'On average, things are never average'

[ Parent ]
Sounds like an epidemic to me ...
"We recommend avoiding places or events with a lot of people unless strictly necessary,"

I don't understand why WHO (or even CDC) isn't making more noise about this.

I keep waiting to see if our state vet is going to issue any alerts for hog producers ...


[ Parent ]
Here's a couple of posts on crofs blog in response to his blog on the mexican flu epidemic
These are just anonymous posters, so take it FWIW. But....
I live in Mexico City, tomorrow 24 all classes at school are suspended until further notice, the secretary of health is not sincere on the severity of the problem, vaccines are useless, and the containment methods are inadequate, says be under control but the truth is that the corrupt government has no idea how to solve the problem, international organizations should pay close attention to this case

Posted by: Anonymous | April 23, 2009 at 09:28 PM

I also live in Mexico city and today a friends mom
who is a doctor has urged us all to go and get the
vaccine. The hospital she works at has had 50
flu-related deaths, in patients 25-45, right about
my age group. Pretty fishy if u consider gov.
officials have stated only 20. I agree with the
poster above me, we need international org.
to keep an eye on this situation. The Mex gov.
is so deep in it's own bullshit it would rather
see us dead than tell us the truth. A truth which
Probably involves some sort of corruption in the
public health system, vaccine related or what
not . Truth be told I am pretty concerned.

Posted by: Nybarrak | April 23, 2009 at 10:00 PM



Always have a plan B.

California and Texas Swine Flu Clusters Raise Concerns
Commentary

Recombinomics Commentary 07:03
April 24, 2009
http://www.recombinomics.com/N...

Two of the new cases were among 16-year-olds at the same school in San Antonio "and there's a father-daughter pair in California," Schuchat said. The boy whose case was reported on Tuesday had flown to Dallas, but the CDC has found no links to the other Texas cases.
===========================================

The above comments describe four of the five new swine flu cases (see updated map) recently confirmed by the CDC. The two high school students near San Antonio, Texas were friends and not linked to the San Diego case who flew to Dallas. Similarly there was no indication that the father daughter pair in San Diego Country were linked to the earlier cluster.

The two initial confirmed cases were also linked to clusters, but the relatives were not tested. However, it is almost certain that the two sets of contacts for the first two cases were also infected, creating four distinct clusters. The only individual case was the fifth new case, a female from Imperial County. Thus, of the 11 confirmed or suspect cases, only one was not in a cluster.

This clustering signals efficient transmission, but none of the cases have links to swine or the other clusters. The efficient transmission signals extensive silent transmission. As noted earlier, only two of the six initial cases were tested, and the testing was linked to a border surveillance program.

Thus, without the border surveillance, none if these cases would have been identified, with the possible exception of the hospitalized patient who was on a ventilator. However, the swine flu would have only been identified if the sample was sub-typed. The swine flu would test positive for influenza A, and treatment and symptoms would be the same for seasonal or swine flu.

Although all cases were in locations close to the Mexican border, no cases in Mexico have been confirmed. However, without the border surveillance no case in the United States would have been confirmed.

It is likely that there are swine flu cases in Mexico, and it is likely that the current influenza outbreak includes a high number of swine flu cases. There have been 20 fatalities due to atypical pneumonia, and cases have been unusually high for mid to late April. Samples have been sent to Canada for analysis, and the CDC said they were also investigating. However, there is little doubt that a high percentage of cases in Mexico are swine flu. School closings throughout southern Mexico, affecting millions of students were just announced.

As flu season ends in the northern hemisphere, identifying swine flu cases should be easier. However, the mild nature of the illness will likely lead to spread into the southern hemisphere increasing the frequency of co-infections with H1N1seasonal flu and acquisition of Tamiflu resistance (H274Y).

Aggressive testing of patients throughout the Americas is warranted, as well as testing in other areas.

The number of flu cases in Mexico, coupled with the high frequency of clusters in California and Texas, raises concerns that the swine flu will spread worldwide and expand into a major pandemic.


Investigators await samples in swine flu outbreak
(From CNN) U.S. medical experts investigating a novel swine flu outbreak awaited samples Thursday night from Mexico, where a respiratory illness has killed as many as 20 people.
(Snip)
The Mexican samples were to be tested at the centers based in Atlanta, Georgia, spokesman David Daigle told CNN by e-mail. He would not confirm that the samples were related to the respiratory outbreak, but said the CDC "understand Canada has samples, and is testing, and has placed a travel alert for travel to Mexico."

The Public Health Agency of Canada issued a respiratory alert for Mexico on Wednesday, recommending that health providers "actively look for cases" in Canada, particularly in people who've returned from Mexico within two weeks.

The CDC reported Tuesday that two California children in the San Diego area were infected with a virus called swine influenza A H1N1, whose combination of genes had not been seen before in flu viruses in humans or pigs.

The seven patients range from age 9 to 54, Schuchat said. They include two 16-year-olds at a Texas school, and a father and daughter in California.
(Snip)
The human influenza vaccine's ability to protect against the new swine flu strain is unknown, and studies are ongoing, Schuchat said. Continued: http://www.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH...



Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. --Unknown

     


Investigators await samples in swine flu outbreak

http://www.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH...

(CNN) -- U.S. medical experts investigating a novel swine flu outbreak awaited samples Thursday night from Mexico, where a respiratory illness has killed as many as 20 people.

Seven cases of a previously undetected strain of swine flu have been confirmed in humans in the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said. None of the patients had direct contact with pigs.

Five of the cases were found in California, and two in Texas, near San Antonio, said Dr. Anne Schuchat, the CDC's interim deputy director for science and public health program.

The Mexican samples were to be tested at the centers based in Atlanta, Georgia, spokesman David Daigle told CNN by e-mail. He would not confirm that the samples were related to the respiratory outbreak, but said the CDC "understand Canada has samples, and is testing, and has placed a travel alert for travel to Mexico."

The Public Health Agency of Canada issued a respiratory alert for Mexico on Wednesday, recommending that health providers "actively look for cases" in Canada, particularly in people who've returned from Mexico within two weeks.

The CDC reported Tuesday that two California children in the San Diego area were infected with a virus called swine influenza A H1N1, whose combination of genes had not been seen before in flu viruses in humans or pigs

[snip]

The human influenza vaccine's ability to protect against the new swine flu strain is unknown, and studies are ongoing, Schuchat said.

There is no danger of contracting the virus from eating pork products, she said.

The new virus has genes from North American swine and avian influenza; human influenza; and swine influenza normally found in Asia and Europe, said Nancy Cox, chief of the CDC's Influenza Division.

[snip]

The new strain of swine flu has resisted some antiviral drugs.

The CDC is working with health officials in California and Texas, and expects to find more cases, Schuchat said.

There's no need for alarm, but people at risk -- those who live in or have visited areas where patients live, or have had contact with pigs -- should get tested if they notice symptoms, said Dr. William Short at the division of infectious diseases at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.



Vietnam - 23-year-old woman has died from H5N1 bird flu
http://hisz.rsoe.hu/alertmap/w...

A 23-year-old woman has died from H5N1 bird flu in northern Vietnam, state-run radio said on Friday, the country's fourth human fatality this year. The woman, from Thanh Hoa province, fell sick and died earlier this month, and tests showed she had been infected by the H5N1 virus, Voice of Vietnam said, quoting the Health Ministry. It said dead chickens were found in the area where she lived, but it did not say if they were infected with the disease. Thanh Hoa was not in the government's bird flu watch list. The World Health Organization, which often waits for official announcements from Vietnam's Health Ministry before confirming bird flu cases, had yet to report the woman's death.)  


Swine flu kills 60 in Mexico, moves to US: WHO
A rare outbreak of human swine flu has killed at least 60 people in Mexico and spread to the United States where authorities are on alert, the World Health Organisation said Friday. The WHO has identified swine influenza as a potential source of a human flu pandemic. Fadela Chaib, a spokeswoman for the UN health agency, said hundreds of cases of suspected swine flu -- which regularly hits pigs but rarely affects humans -- have been reported in Mexico.

"To date there have been some 800 suspected cases with flu-like illness, with 57 deaths in the Mexico City area," Chaib added.

Twenty four suspected cases and three deaths were also recorded in San Luis Potosi in central Mexico.
Chaib said there are now seven known cases in the southwestern United States in three clusters -- five in California and two in Texas.

"Meanwhile in Mexico unusual end of season influenza activity began to be noticed at the end of March, peaking in April," the spokeswoman told journalists.

"The virus is being described in the United States as a new subtype of A/H1N1. Mexico so far hasn't said anything about the virus, what type of virus it is," said Chaib. Most of the Mexican cases were found in healthy young adults with no known record of prior illness.

The WHO said it was in constant contact with health authorities in the United States and in Mexico. Continued: http://www.physorg.com/news159...

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. --Unknown

     


WHO Alert Level still at 3, EOM


To calm the wife buy cases of chocolate, to calm the husband buy cases of booze, and to calm the children...... heck the booze and chocolate should work.

[ Parent ]
Sixty Swine Flu Fatalities In Mexico Confirms Pandemic Start
Commentary

Recombinomics Commentary 13:30
April 24, 2009
http://www.recombinomics.com/N...

A rare outbreak of human swine flu has killed at least 60 people in Mexico and spread to the United States where authorities are on alert, the World Health Organisation said on Friday.

"To date there have been some 800 suspected cases with flu-like illness, with 57 deaths in the Mexico City area," Chaib added.

Twenty four suspected cases and three deaths were also recorded in San Luis Potosi in central Mexico.
===================================

The above comment confirm that the swine H1N1 in southwestern United States (see updated map) is the leading edge of a H1N1 pandemic that appears to be centered in Mexico.

These deaths should increase the pandemic phase to 6.

Release of sequences from fatal cases in Mexico would be useful.


Swine Flu in U.S., Mexico Lung Illness Heighten Pandemic Risk

By Jason Gale
Last Updated: April 24, 2009 03:34 EDT
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/...

April 24 (Bloomberg) -- Disease trackers are trying to determine whether a previously unseen strain of influenza in the U.S. is related to more than 130 cases of severe respiratory illness in Mexico and may spark a pandemic.

A new variant of H1N1 swine influenza has sickened at least seven patients in California and Texas, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta said yesterday. Mexico's Health Minister Jose Cordova canceled classes in the capital today and recommended citizens avoid public places after 20 fatalities from an illness possibly caused by an H1N1 flu virus.

"The infection of humans with a novel influenza-A virus infection of animal origins, as has happened here, is of concern because of the risk, albeit small, that this could represent the appearance of viruses with pandemic potential," the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control said in a statement.

Scientists in both countries and Canada are studying the cases to determine whether they pose a larger public health threat. A pandemic can start when a novel influenza type-A virus, to which almost no one has natural immunity, emerges and begins spreading. Experts believe the so-called 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic, which may have killed as many as 50 million people, began when an avian flu virus jumped to people.

Authorities in Mexico asked the Public Health Agency of Canada to help identify what's causing the lung infection that has also spread to five health-care workers, the Ottawa-based agency said in an e-mail yesterday.

Critical Study

Canada's National Microbiology Lab received 51 specimens from Mexico on April 22 and will be testing them for a range of pathogens, the public health agency said. Tests in Mexico found patients were also infected with the H1N1 and type-B influenza strains and the parainfluenza virus, the agency said.

"It will be critical to determine whether or not the strains of H1N1 isolated from patients in Mexico are also swine flu," Donald Low, an infectious diseases specialist at Toronto's Mount Sinai Hospital, told the Canadian Press.

Thirteen fatal cases of severe respiratory illness were reported in Mexico City; four in San Luis Potosi, a city north of the capital; two in the state of Baja California Norte, bordering California; and another in Oaxaca city in the south. Most cases occurred in southern and central Mexico in previously healthy adults aged 25 to 44 years old.

Symptoms include high fever, headache, eye pain, shortness of breath and extreme fatigue with rapid progression of symptoms to severe respiratory distress in about five days, the Canadian agency said. A "high proportion" of cases require mechanical respiration, it said.

Milder Symptoms

In contrast, the four males and three females in San Diego County and Imperial County, California, and in San Antonio diagnosed with swine flu had mild flu-like symptoms. The patients, aged 9 to 54 years, began feeling unwell from March 28 to April 19. All have recovered and only one was hospitalized briefly, according to the CDC.

"We have determined that this virus is contagious and is spreading from human to human," the CDC said in a statement on its Web site. "We have not determined how easily the virus spreads between people."

Preliminary analyses of the virus indicate it contains four different gene components representing both North American swine and avian influenza, human flu and a Eurasian swine flu.

"It's a real mutt," Walter Dowdle, who in worked in the CDC's virology unit during a major swine flu outbreak in 1976, told the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy's daily newsletter yesterday. "When you have an evolving RNA mechanism, it's hard to be surprised by anything," said Dowdle, who now works with the Task Force for Child Survival and Development, based in Atlanta.

Human Infections

Swine influenza is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type-A influenza that regularly causes outbreaks among the animals, according to the CDC. Swine flu doesn't normally infect people, though human infections do occur and cases of human-to- human spread of swine flu viruses have been documented.

In 1976, 13 soldiers in basic training at Fort Dix in New Jersey fell severely ill from swine flu and one died, prompting concern that a pandemic was unfolding. A vaccine developed to prevent the illness was associated with a paralyzing neurologic illness affecting more than 1,000 people.

Infection in pigs is regarded as especially problematic because of the risk of "reassortment" to produce a new virus, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control said.

"These mild U.S. cases infected with a novel influenza are not reflecting the emergence of a pandemic strain, but they at least raise the possibility that there has been limited human- to-human transmission," the health agency said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jason Gale in Singapore at j.gale@bloomberg.net



Mexico: Calderon cancels visit due to the national epidemic of influenza
Hat-tip Helblindi at PFI:

24 April 2009
http://www.diario.com.mx/nota....

Due to the nationwide epidemic of influenza, which is already present in this border, President Felipe Calderón Hinojosa canceled last minute last night that the visit was scheduled for this day to Juárez.

Following a meeting held by the president of the nation with some of his cabinet in the capital, it was determined that the tour was canceled for today referred to tackle the emergency situation that has been generated by the outbreak of the disease.

According to staff of the Social Communication of municipal president, the federal government informed them that due to force majeure not attributable to any situation in Juárez suspends the tour scheduled for this town to a later date, without specifying the reasons.

Last night on national television, Health Secretary Jose Angel Cordova Villalobos admitted that this is an epidemic outbreak of influenza occurred in the center of the country, said that although the disease has also been presented in other states the country, although in fewer cases.

He said that had the foreign laboratories for confirmation that this is a new influenza virus, said that although the epidemic is under control, "but we need to strengthen preventive measures."

"We had suspected for some acute cases," he said.

The cancellation of the tour took by surprise even the head of the Secretariat of National Defense, Guillermo Galvan Galvan, who was already in this city yesterday to participate in the activities he had planned the Federal Executive.

The itinerary of the president of Mexico was scheduled to begin at 9:30 am, when the dishes come from the Plaza, located on the premises of 20avo. Motorized Cavalry Battalion being on the street Blue Ravine south of the city.

Then at 11:45 it was planned in Central Park to lead the ceremonial reopening of the eastern section, which is the subject of a refurbishment.

Then, hold a closed meeting with members of the group Maquila Software, a conglomerate of business managers and the maquiladora industry.

Then return to the Juárez airport for departure.

Since the beginning of the week dozens of elements of the Presidential had traveled some of the points covered in the itinerary president.



Mystery illness found in tourists to Mexico
Hat-tip Helblindi at PFI:

By HELEN BRANSWELL, THE CANADIAN PRESS
http://www.theglobeandmail.com...

TORONTO -- Public health units, quarantine officers and medical practitioners across the country have been warned to be on guard for cases of a mystery illness in Canadians returning from Mexico.

The warning follows reports from that country of cases of severe respiratory illness, which in some cases has led to death.

Mexican authorities have insisted the outbreak is not an epidemic and that preventive measures are being taken to reduce the risk of transmission of disease.

Mexican authorities informed Canadian counterparts about the situation on April 17, asking for help with their investigation. Scientists at the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg are assisting in efforts to determine the cause or causes of the illnesses.

"We are aware of the reports and are looking into them," said Andrew McDermott, a spokesman for the Public Health Agency of Canada.

It's not clear if there is any link between these illnesses and the recent discovery of several human cases of swine flu infection in California.

Dr. Arlene King, who is the Public Health Agency of Canada's point person for pandemic influenza preparedness, said samples from Mexico will need to be studied to see if there is any link.

King, who was named Ontario's new chief public health officer yesterday and takes on the job in mid-June, said it is important to be on the lookout for new infectious disease outbreaks.

"We absolutely have to remain vigilant in the country around the situation in Mexico and globally," said King, who is director general of the public health agency's centre for immunization and respiratory infectious diseases.

"We need to be prepared for any emerging infectious disease threat that may occur outside of our borders. It's absolutely fundamental."

The illnesses are said to have been occurring in south and central Mexico and involve mainly young, previously healthy adults.

To date, two clusters of severe respiratory infections with death have been reported in April, one in Mexico City and one in San Luis Potosi. Mexico City has reported 120 cases including 13 deaths while San Luis Potosi, in central Mexico, has reported 14 cases including four deaths.

There has also been a death reported in Oaxaca and two deaths reported in Baja California Norte.

Health authorities have been told some of the cases have tested positive for influenza, but some cases are influenza A and others are influenza B.


Canada hasn't found any cases, but they are testing samples for Mexico.
Canada is telling travelers returning from Mexico to be alert for symptoms, but so far they haven't found any cases, is what most articles are saying.  Is this correct?  

"The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it."  Flannery O'Connor

[ Parent ]
WHO concerned at new swine flu in US, flu in Mexico
Hat-tip Helblindi at PFI:

24 Apr 2009 10:00:17 GMT
http://www.alertnet.org/thenew...

GENEVA, April 24 (Reuters) - The World Health Organisation (WHO) voiced concern on Friday at a confirmed outbreak of swine flu in the United States and what it called more than 800 "influenza-like" cases in Mexico.

The United Nations agency also said it had activated its Strategic Health Operations Centre (SHOC) -- its command and control centre for acute public health events -- but could not say whether it was considering issuing a travel advisory.

U.S. public health officials said on Thursday that seven people had been diagnosed with a new kind of swine flu in California and Texas, while Mexican authorities were due to announce test results later on Friday, WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl said in Geneva. (Editing by Jon Boyle)  


CBC broadcast on situation in Mexico with interview of Hartl:
Hat-tip Goju at PFI:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

He reiterated that test results on the Mexican strain are expected today.

Hartl says that "even if the results...showed it were the same virus, we would still have to ask questions how the transmission occurred, how efficiently does it occur, when did it occur, did it come from animal to human or is it human to human transmission. So as is usual at the beginning of an outbreak, an epidemic disease event, there are often more questions that we don't have the answers to than we have the answers to."


'Flu-Like' Illness Sickens 800, Kills 60 in Mexico; May Be Related to U.S. Swine Flu Outbreak
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0...

From Fox News:

The World Health Organization voiced concern on Friday at a confirmed outbreak of swine flu in the United States and what it called more than 800 human "influenza-like" cases in Mexico, including about 60 deaths.

The United Nations agency said it had activated its Strategic Health Operations Center- its command and control center for acute public health events - but could not say whether it was considering issuing a travel advisory.

Related: Never-Before-Seen Flu Virus Sickens 7 in U.S.

U.S. public health officials said on Thursday that seven people had been diagnosed with a new kind of swine flu in California and Texas, while Mexican authorities were due to announce test results later on Friday, WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl said in Geneva.

"We are in daily contact with U.S., Canadian and Mexican authorities," Hartl told Reuters.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that the virus was a never-before-seen mixture of viruses typical among pigs, birds and humans. All 7 American patients had recovered.

WHO spokeswoman Fadela Chaib said Mexican authorities had noticed unusual activity at the end of the flu season in March and April.

"To date there have been some 800 suspected cases with flu-like illness, with 57 deaths in the Mexico City area.

"Similar cases have since been found in San Luis Potosi in central Mexico. The number of suspected cases is 24 suspected cases and 3 deaths," she told a news briefing.

Mexican Health Minister Jose Angel Cordoba said that it was cancelling classes for millions of children in the heart of the country on Friday after influenza killed around 20 people in recent weeks. Mexico's flu season had extended for longer this year.



WHO Concerned
WHO concerned at new swine flu in US, flu in Mexico
Fri Apr 24, 2009 11:51am BST

* WHO concerned at US outbreak, 800 flu-like cases in Mexico

* Activates command centre for acute health events

* Mexican authorities to announce test results on Friday

GENEVA, April 24 (Reuters) - The World Health Organisation (WHO) voiced concern on Friday at a confirmed outbreak of swine flu in the United States and what it called more than 800 human "influenza-like" cases in Mexico, including about 60 deaths.

The United Nations agency said it had activated its Strategic Health Operations Centre (SHOC) -- its command and control centre for acute public health events -- but could not say whether it was considering issuing a travel advisory.

[snip]

Mexican Health Minister Jose Angel Cordoba said that it was cancelling classes for millions of children in the heart of the country on Friday after influenza killed around 20 people in recent weeks. Mexico's flu season had extended for longer this year.

http://uk.reuters.com/article/...


More on the Mexican flu virus from a mexican source
.
Mexico on alert for suspicious deaths of 61 swine flu

24/Apr/09
La Nacion
http://www.lanacion.com.py/not...

Health authorities in Mexico have confirmed today the death of 16 persons per swine flu occurred in the last three weeks, plus 45 other suspicious deaths and 943 hospitalized.

"The 16 cases we have tested for this virus and we are hoping the confirmations from others," said Health Secretary Jose Angel Cordova Villalobos, who noted that it is an "epidemic control."

"We had confirmation that the virus was not normal seasonal influenza," he said.

The emergency situation was evident Thursday night when, at 23:00 (04:00 GMT), Córdova Villalobos came to announce the national chain from the presidential residence of Los Pinos suspension of classes in the capital and the neighboring State of Mexico, where there are most of the cases.

The president of Mexico, Felipe Calderón, who had canceled a trip scheduled for today to Ciudad Juárez in the northern state of Chihuahua, and yesterday met for over four hours with the cabinet to discuss the situation.

Cordova Villalobos said that "a mutant virus that comes from pigs, which had already been described in 1976." Mexican authorities sent 17 samples to Canada and received confirmation that in 16 cases it was swine flu. Cordova Villalobos said that in recent months, seven cases had been filed in the Southern United States.

The main symptoms are sudden high fever, headache, red eyes, nasal discharge and cough.

It spreads very easily, so it is recommended that people stay away from infected people, no kiss of greeting or handheld use cubrebocas, washing hands often and sneeze at the angle of the elbow, among other measures.

In schools "very likely to continue classes suspended for a few days," said Córdova Villalobos. "The thing to avoid is that complicated."

The authorities still do not know if the vaccine against influenza, which is usually the most vulnerable because of age, served to protect them from new viruses.

Influenza usually affects children under three years and older than 60, but now people have been affected in the intermediate ages "that are not usually vaccinated.

Apart from the cases in the capital and the state of Mexico, the rest of the country have been isolated cases in six states, particularly in San Luis Potosi.

Between the State of Mexico and Mexico City joined more than 20 percent of the 105 million people in the country.  


It sounds like the Mexican Health Secretary
has received confirmation that what's circulating in Mexico is swine flu:
Cordova Villalobos said that "a mutant virus that comes from pigs, which had already been described in 1976." Mexican authorities sent 17 samples to Canada and received confirmation that in 16 cases it was swine flu. Cordova Villalobos said that in recent months, seven cases had been filed in the Southern United States.


[ Parent ]
Mexico Flu Deaths So Far Not Seen Bird-Flu Related
Wall Stree Journal - note title. Talk about trying to find the good news here.  

By MAJA WALLENGREN
AMERICAS NEWS APRIL 24, 2009, 10:41 A.M. ET
http://online.wsj.com/article/...

MEXICO CITY -- The death of at least 20 people in Mexico from an unknown strain of influenza hasn't been linked to the dangerous H5N1 strain of bird flu, the World Health Organization said Friday.

"We are still expecting more details but so far we have no indications that this is avian flu," WHO spokesperson Sari Setiogi told Dow Jones Newswires, speaking by telephone from Geneva.

"We have been in constant contact with the Mexican government and from what we know now this is not the H5N1 strain but caused by the H1N1 strain, which is part of the normal influenza A, but the severe form of influenza," she said.

Ms. Setiogi said that although this particular strain of influenza is known to have caused fatalities "it's uncommon and doesn't happen frequently," especially not so late in the year. Mexico's season for influenza A normally ends in December, she added.

Mexico's government has ordered all schools in the greater capital area closed Friday amid the growing influenza epidemic and several rumors circulated in the capital late Thursday that this could be a case of the dangerous high-pathogenic strain of bird flu that has led to deaths in humans.

Health Minister Jose Angel Cordova told local press that preliminary test results from scientists in the U.S. and Canada showed it wasn't avian influenza, and has warned citizens to take extreme caution and avoid greeting others by shaking hands, cheek kisses or any other unnecessary physical contact.

The WHO, in a separate report Friday, said hundreds of cases of swine flu have been reported in Mexico and the U.S. in recent weeks including 57 cases of suspected deaths in the capital area, which is home to about 20 million people.

Setiogi said the WHO is "on alert" about the growing influenza outbreak in Mexico and expects the number of cases in both Mexico and other countries in the region to grow in the coming weeks.

"We are right now on alert and monitoring the developments of this unusual influenza activity. We are still gathering information while the Mexican authorities are doing their investigations, but we are expecting more cases to be reported," she said.

Mexico was declared free of the deadly H5N1 strain of avian flu several years ago, but the current influenza outbreak has stirred speculation as to how it emerged in the first place.

Local newspapers reported that at least 20 people have already died from the influenza, while some 120 people have been hospitalized within the greater Mexico City region.


But American Swine Flu (Mutt Flu) is Part Avian
The new virus has genes from North American swine and avian influenza; human influenza; and swine influenza normally found in Asia and Europe, said Nancy Cox, chief of the CDC's Influenza Division.
From article above.

Anything so far that either connects or distinguishes the US versions of Mutt Flu and the "swine" flu in Mexico?

ITW(Joel J)
Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear - not absence of fear.
- Mark Twain
 


[ Parent ]
Swine flu kills 60 in Mexico, moves to US

Posted: 24 April 2009 2320 hrs
http://www.channelnewsasia.com...

GENEVA : A rare outbreak of human swine flu has killed at least 60 people in Mexico and spread to the United States where authorities are on alert, the World Health Organisation said on Friday.

The WHO has identified swine influenza as a potential source of a human flu pandemic. Fadela Chaib, a spokeswoman for the UN health agency, said hundreds of cases of suspected swine flu -- which regularly hits pigs but rarely affects humans -- have been reported in Mexico.

"To date there have been some 800 suspected cases with flu-like illness, with 57 deaths in the Mexico City area," Chaib added.

Twenty four suspected cases and three deaths were also recorded in San Luis Potosi in central Mexico.

Chaib said there are now seven known cases in the southwestern United States in three clusters -- five in California and two in Texas.

"Meanwhile in Mexico unusual end of season influenza activity began to be noticed at the end of March, peaking in April," the spokeswoman told journalists.

"The virus is being described in the United States as a new subtype of A/H1N1. Mexico so far hasn't said anything about the virus, what type of virus it is," said Chaib.

Most of the Mexican cases were found in healthy young adults with no known record of prior illness.

The WHO said it was in constant contact with health authorities in the United States and in Mexico.

[snip]


Avian influenza - situation in Egypt - update 13

http://www.who.int/csr/don/200...

23 April 2009 -- The Ministry of Health of Egypt has reported a new confirmed human case of avian influenza . The case is a 4 year old male from Akhmim District, Sohag Governorate. His symptoms began on 18 April and he was hospitalized at Sohag Fever Hospital on 18 April where he was started on oseltamivir. He is in a stable condition.

Infection with H5N1 avian influenza was confirmed by the Egyptian Central Public Health Laboratory on 21 April and subsequently confirmed by the U.S. Naval Medical Research Unit No. 3 (NAMRU-3).

Investigations into the source of his infection indicate a history of close contact with dead and sick poultry prior to becoming ill.

Of the 67 cases confirmed to date in Egypt, 23 have been fatal.


Egypt announces 26th deaths from bird flu

Health 4/24/2009 6:52:00 PM
http://www.kuna.net.kw/NewsAge...

CAIRO, April 24 (KUNA) -- Egyptian Ministry of Health announced Friday the death of the 26th Bird Flu case.

A statement from the ministry said a 33 year-old Egyptian woman, from Kafr Al-Sheikh province, died from bird flu. She was admitted to the hospital in the middle of April with symptoms of high fever and breathing difficulty. The tests indicated that she was infected with bird flu.

Totally, Egyptian authorities have registered up to 68 cases infected with the virus.

Egyptian Government exerted major efforts in educating its citizens in order to prevent them from being around birds, in order to decrease the number of cases and deaths.(end) az.mao KUNA 241852 Apr 09NNNN


CIDRAP - More US swine flu cases, Mexico illnesses raise pandemic questions
http://www.cidrap.umn.edu/cidr...

[snip] Risk message implications
Peter Sandman, PhD, a risk communication consultant based in Princeton, N.J., also listened in on today's CDC teleconference. While he credited the CDC with getting a clear, calm, and concise scientific message out about the swine flu cases, he said they missed a teachable moment to promote pandemic preparedness.

"Everyone needs to learn how to say 'This could be bad, and it's a good reason to take precautions and prepare' and 'This could fizzle out,'" Sandman said. "They need to simultaneously say both statements."

He added that "good risk communicators need to know how to be both scary and tentative."

Federal health officials are probably treading cautiously around the word "pandemic," because some accused them of fearmongering when they raised concerns about the H5N1 virus 2 years ago and also because of overreaction during the 1976 swine flu epidemic that led to vaccination missteps.

When talking to the public about pandemic risks, federal officials could take some cues from hurricane forecasters, Sandman said, "and speculate responsibly."

cont.

Comment. I hope TPTB do take this opportunity to start promoting preparedness though it's a bit like shutting the sty door after the pig has bolted. The only trouble with hurricane forcasting is that a lot of people didn't take them seriously until after Katrina.


Good point, UK-Bird. n/t


"I am opposed to any form of tyranny over the mind of man."  Thomas Jefferson

[ Parent ]
How similar or different is this current outbreak from prior "missteps"??
From my meager knowledge base, the SARS outbreak was similarly widespread in terms of distance between outbreak spots, and also numbers of victims. But on the other hand the start of the outbreak was traced pretty easily to one "superspreader" infecting travelers from China to Canada, and thus it was able to be contained. A CDC spokesperson (tonight on CNN) said this new swine flu outbreak was already too far spread to be contained, which is scarey. It is geographically widespread (spotty, but in several distant locations) in Mexico and US, and with no clear source or path of infection. So I think that's very different from the SARS scare.

Similarly, I seem to remember the swine flu outbreak of 76 was limited in geographical scope to that army base, wasn't it?  

Point is, this one is different, this one is more dangerous, this one has the potential to go all the way, and tptb should make that difference clear to the public, so that people will begin to put provisions aside. If they are afraid of "panic buying" clearing out the shelves, they can simply have grocery stores put limits on how much a person can buy of any one item at one time, like they do when they put things on sale.

Always have a plan B.


[ Parent ]
IMHO this potential pandemic is much closer to what TPTB have anticipated
But because they've had their eyes on H5N1 (as have we all) it's come as a bit of a shock.

Yes, it's a very different situation to Fort Dix. It is on the loose and could be spread far and wide by now. The problem with swine flu is the medical machinery remembers the mistakes made during the 1976 scare and might hesitate when they should act.

When the media hints that panic buying could happen then it will happen, there's nothing the governments can do about it.

Here in the UK the media ramp up is in it's infancy but I expect them to go mad in a day or too. Ha, so much for all those plans for a controlled, responsible release of information. It may actually be a good thing. People could have a little panic and then things could recover a bit before the main wave hits.


[ Parent ]
WHO says it is worried about suspicious flu activity, sending help to Mexico
25 minutes ago
http://www.google.com/hostedne...

TORONTO - Mexican authorities confirmed Friday they have found human cases of the same swine flu virus that has caused illness in the southwestern United States, a development that raises questions about whether the world is watching the start of a flu pandemic.

The World Health Organization expressed serious concern, saying it is considering whether it needs to raise the global pandemic alert level and whether to launch an effort to try to contain the spread of a virus with possible pandemic potential.

"We can't say for sure that either a phase change or a rapid containment operation will happen. But both have been considered and are being considered," spokesman Gregory Hartl said from Geneva.

"I still don't think we have enough information to be able to say that this is a pandemic or not. Because there are questions over transmissibility, let's say, of the virus. And we need to know more about how easily transmitted the virus is."

Hartl said there have been no reports of infections in any other countries to date.

Mexican authorities confirmed that samples tested both at the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control tested positive for swine flu viruses.

The unusual influenza A H1N1 viruses were first reported earlier this week, when the CDC announced it had found two human cases of infection with this never-before-seen virus.

Though human H1N1 viruses have been circulating for decades, it is not clear how much protection previous infection with them would confer against a virus made up predominantly of swine flu genes. The virus also has some bird genes and one human gene.

U.S. authorities have confirmed seven cases of swine flu infection in people in Southern California and Texas over the past few days. The seven range in age from nine to 54 years of age. All have recovered from the infection; one needed hospitalization.

But the news coming out of Mexico paints a different story, with reports of a fairly high attack rate and more than 20 deaths.

Reports suggest the majority of the cases are occurring in young, previously healthy adults in their mid 20s to mid 40s. There are said to have been over 800 cases so far, but it remains unclear if all of those people are sick with this virus or if other flu or respiratory viruses are also circulating and muddling the picture.

Hartl said the WHO is sending staff to Mexico to help authorities there get a better handle on the scope of the problem.

"We're extremely concerned because we're looking at five different influenza events which may or may not be connected," he said, referring to California, Texas and three possibly linked outbreaks in Mexico.

"But they are unusual events, either because of the time of the year that they happened and or because of the people that have been affected. This is a great concern to us and we have activated our strategic health operation centre which is a 24-hour around-the-clock command and control centre."

Canada and the United States have also launched their emergency control centres, signalling this is an event they want to track around the clock.

The world is currently at level 3 of the WHO's six-rung pandemic alert ladder, because of ongoing sporadic cases of human infection with the H5N1 avian flu virus. Phase 3 means there are occasional human cases with a novel flu virus.

WHO would need the advice of an expert panel to move up to Phase 4 or beyond. Phase 6 is a pandemic.

Hartl's comments suggest that panel has been put on alert that they may be drawn together at any time.


WHO:
I just read this "WHO would need the advice of an expert panel to move up to Phase 4 or beyond. Phase 6 is a pandemic."

Just ask the "experts" (us) on the "flu forums"!!! We say go to Level 5. For God's sake, get a grip on reality!!! It is better to alert people and be wrong than to sit there in dead silence and denial. Just my own opinion.

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. --Unknown

     


[ Parent ]
Or to sit there in denial, and (subsequently) in dead silence.


Always have a plan B.

[ Parent ]
WHO calls emergency meeting on swine flu
Hat-tip Helblindi at PFI:

Fri Apr 24, 2009 10:13pm IST
http://in.reuters.com/article/...

GENEVA (Reuters) - The World Health Organization said on Friday that it was convening an emergency committee to advise whether outbreaks of swine flu in the United States and Mexico constituted an international public health threat.

"WHO will convene, sometime in the very near future, an emergency committee under the International Health Regulations, which will consider whether or not this event constitutes a public health event of international concern," WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl told Reuters in Geneva.

Hartl also said that 12 of 18 samples taken from victims in Mexico showed the virus had a genetic structure identical to that of the virus found in California. But more epidemiological information was needed before any change to the WHO's pandemic alert level, currently at '3' on a scale of 1 to 6.


Mexico confirms its flu
Mexico's health minister is saying its a new flu and a "respiratory pandemic."

At the end of this video.

http://tinyurl.com/dzo8tn

Also 10 people in Canada that just came back from Mexico are showing symptoms  

Carry the torch, not to light the way, but to set your peers on fire!


Obama fully briefed on swine flu
http://www.google.com/hostedne...

WASHINGTON (AFP) - President Barack Obama is being fully briefed on an outbreak of deadly swine flu blamed for scores of deaths in Mexico and seven infections in Texas, an aide said Friday.

"The White House is taking the situation seriously and monitoring for any new developments. The president has been fully briefed," said Reid Cherlin, a White House spokesman.
[CONTINUES]

To calm the wife buy cases of chocolate, to calm the husband buy cases of booze, and to calm the children...... heck the booze and chocolate should work.


Summary of CDC conference call:
Infections for H1N1 swine influenza have been confirmed in 8 individuals

6 in CA

2 in San Antonio

Illness onset going back to end of March to middle of April. Age range 7 - 54, number in children but not all. 7 were seen as outpatients, 1 hospitalized an adult woman with autoimmune disease (hepatitis). All have recovered completely. All were infected with an identical swine H1N1 virus. Unrelated to any swine flu virus previously identified in North America.

No pig exposure. None of the individuals are related except for a father and daughter. There is human to human transmission of this virus ongoing.

This virus is resistant to amantadine/R but is sensitive to Tamiflu/Z. We do recommend treatment as soon as possible with T or Z. Same treatment protocol as for seasonal influenza - 2X day for 5 days.

We do not know the incubation period for this virus infection. Probably 2-6 days.

Reports of illness including fatal cases in Mexico. CDC has received clinical specimens from Mexico as has the Canadian national lab. Both have confirmed H1N1 swine influenza infection. It appears to be identical to the virus in Mexico as to that in CA, TX.

U.S. cases were uncomplicated, but Mexican some cases involved severe lower respiratory involvement.

Symptoms: fever cough sore throat runny nose myalgia. In addition, several have reported vomiting and diarrhea.

Questions:

Question: Why the difference in the virulence between U.S. and Mexico?

Answer: We can't speculate - we need more epidemiological information - but that may be something we confront in the U.S.

Current diagnostics available for seasonal flu will not distinguish between seasonal and swine influenza. Problem because almost all the seasonal H1N1 is resistant to Tami, but this swine flu is resistant to amantadine. Clincial dilemma for management of the patient. We'll be trying to work to help clinicians with some guidance. There is still seasonal flu activity in the U.S.

Question: Alert levels and business continuity plans that are tied into them.

Answer: Situation is ongoing. Evolving. Pandemic phase level will be evaluated probably on a daily basis. I would say stay tuned.

Question: Is this occurring in vaccinated people?

Answer: Of the 8 cases in the U.S. one was vaccinated for seasonal flu last Fall. The others either we don't have the info or they were not vaccinated. Cross-reactivity with seasonal H1N1 - those investigations are underway, preliminary investigations indicate there is not a good match. Vaccine development is underway in a number of approaches, both classical reassortment and reverse genetics approach. There is discussion about a live vaccine approach.

Someone who has received seasonal flu vaccination should not be considered protected.

On the animal side we've not heard reports about swine flu in animals at least in terms of this virus. The caution would be that surveillance for swine flu is not where detection for poultry is in this country. The current tests may not be able to pick up this strain. These 8 cases had no link to pigs or poultry or other animals. It is H2H transmission.

Question: Should all specimens be submitted that test positive for flu A?

Answer: All states can do the testing, we would like to see specimens routed through the state labs. These cases were in some sense picked up accidentally. Novel influenza infections are a nationally notifiable disease. We'd like to see more specimens tested.

Contacts of the confirmed cases have been followed and tested. Because of the situation in Mexico and because of concern over travel to Mexico there will be a broadening of the definition to include recent travel to Mexico or a contact of someone who was ill who had recent travel to Mexico.

Patients who are hospitalized with febrile lower respiratory tract disease, including those with diagnosed secondary bacterial pneumonia (  ) should be tested. Collect both a nasal and a pharyngeal specimen.

Question: Any cases anywhere outside the U.S. and Mexico?

Answer: Not to date but surveillance needs to be ramped up. We have confirmation about cases in the U.S. and Mexico but I can't comment on Canada because I don't have information on that.

Question: 27 deaths in Mexico. Do you know if the onset was the same as the cases here? Mexico experienced onset March 27, caller said.

Answer: Onset was end of March going through Mid April here in the U.S.

Question: States are waiting on CDC to go out to public with one voice. Any plans for a CDC health advisory to be released in next couple of hours, days.

Answer: We will be releasing an MMWR dispatch today, but the situation is evolving and could be very different in a few days. We are posting interim guidance at CDC web pages. As we get more info, we will be revising these documents. I do agree with a coordinated message as much as possible. We are trying to keep our public health partners and our clinical partners as up to date as possible. We will probably have new information on Monday.

Question: Would rapid test for influenza A pick up this virus?

Answer: We don't know. We would not recommend rapid testing for this virus for diagnostic purposes. A positive could indicate H1N2 or H3N2 seasonal, or give a false positive, or indicate a swine H1N1 infection. For specific diagnosis we really want PCR to be done preferably at state labs.

Question: Had the cases traveled to Mexico or had contact with travelers from Mexico?

Answer: Most of them did not have a travel history to Mexico, a few of them had some travel....it is impossible for us to trace back this. From what we know that's going on in Mexico one can only conclude that given the lack of epidemiological links among these cases in the U.S. that there is ongoing human to human transmission.

Question: Our hospitals serve many Mexican national here in Odessa, TX. Do you have guidance for us?

Answer: Border states have increased surveillance at hospitals and clinics. This appears to be linked to the situation in Mexico. You should expect that you will see (Mexican) ill patients infected with this swine influenza virus. We are issuing infection control guidance which will hopefully be helpful for your facility. We are revising the interim guidance posted early this week.

Question: Where on the epidemic curve are we? How far do you think it has spread?

Answer: There should be active surveillance. Raises the question about travelers and non-border states. Quite likely that other states will see H1N1 swine influenza cases and all states need to be prepared. In terms of where we are, it's hard to say, we're early....this is somewhat recent. A detection of 8 cases in two different states is probably an underestimate. Can't comment on where Mexico is in the epidemic.

Question: Duration?

Answer: 4-5 days. One child who resolved their fever but had a runny nose at day 8 was PCR positive.

Question: Statins?

Answer: No information on statins.

Question: Bacterial pneumonia?

Answer: We're not calling this a pandemic yet, but we do see secondary bacterial pneumonia so that should be expected.


Mexico City launches massive vaccination campaign
 Mexico City launches massive vaccination campaign against swine flu
www.chinaview.cn 2009-04-24 23:06:06   Print

   MEXICO CITY, April 24 (Xinhua) -- The government of Mexico City is launching a massive vaccination campaign throughout the city against swine flu, which has possibly killed 45 people and infected 943 nationwide.

   The Mexican government confirmed on Friday the outbreak of the swine flu, and warned people to avoid crowds.

   "It's a virus which mutated from pigs and transmitted to some human," Health Minister Jose Angel Cordova told Televisa television.

   Health officials are now investigating the possible deaths and infections caused by the virus. Virus samples have been sent to laboratories in Canada for testing, they said.

   The government also decided to close all schools in Mexico City and the center of the country to avoid spreading of the virus.

   The World Health Organization, which has identified swine influenza as a potential source of a human flu pandemic, has also activated its global epidemic operations center.
http://news.xinhuanet.com/engl...

Life is not so short but that there is always time enough for courtesy. Ralph Waldo Emerson


Up to a thousand cases
snip
CLOSE TO 1,000 SUSPECTED CASES IN MEXICO

Seven people were infected with the new strain in California and Texas, but all of them have recovered. Mexico said it had close to 1,000 suspected cases there.

Worldwide, seasonal flu kills between 250,000 and 500,000 people in an average year, but the flu season for North America should have been winding down.

The White House was closely following the new cases in the United States and Mexico, and President Barack Obama has been informed, an administration official said.

The Mexican government cautioned people not to shake hands or kiss when greeting or to share food, glasses or cutlery for fear of infection.

The outbreak jolted residents of the Mexican capital, one of the world's biggest cities and home to some 20 million people.

One pharmacy ran out of surgical face masks after selling 300 in a day.
more at link
http://www.alertnet.org/thenew...

Life is not so short but that there is always time enough for courtesy. Ralph Waldo Emerson


daily kos update post
here

Mexico orders to close public places
Mexico orders to close public places throughout the country to battle deadly swine flu outbreak.

CDC: likely too late to contain swine flu outbreakd.

Source: BNO Breaking news on Twitter: http://twitter.cccom/breakingnews

Let me be blind to wicked text, deaf to wicked words, mute to wicked comments.


I got the same info from the BBC
good to see you FrenchieGirl, pity about the circumstances.

[ Parent ]
www.twitter.com/breakingnews is good
Nice to see you all too. This source on Twitter is pretty fast/good. I suggest you all register on Twitter and find flubies there. I think one of us has an account there, no?

Let me be blind to wicked text, deaf to wicked words, mute to wicked comments.

[ Parent ]
sorry typo in link
Mexico orders to close public places throughout the country to battle deadly swine flu outbreak.

CDC: likely too late to contain swine flu outbreakd.

Source: BNO Breaking news on Twitter: http://twitter.com/breakingnews

Let me be blind to wicked text, deaf to wicked words, mute to wicked comments.


Who Worries Mexico Flu Deaths Could Mark Pandemic
http://www.chron.com/disp/stor...
April 24, 2009
By MARK STEVENSON
MEXICO CITY:  At least 16 people, and possibly dozens more, 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, and tougher
measures were being considered.

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 disease that combines pig, bird and human viruses in a way that researchers have not seen before. The World Health Organization counted at least 57 deaths in Mexico, but said it wasnt yet clear what flu they died from.

"We are very, very concerned, WHO spokesman Thomas Abraham said. We have what appears to be a novel virus and it has spread from human to human."

WHO raised its internal alert system Friday, enabling the agency to divert more money and personnel to dealing with the outbreak. Its all hands on deck at the moment. Abraham said.

President Felipe Calderon cancelled a trip and met with his Cabinet to coordinate Mexicos response. The government has 500,000 flu vaccines and planned to administer them to health workers, the highest risk group. There are no vaccines available for the general public in Mexico, and
authorities urged people to avoid hospitals unless they had a medical emergency, since hospitals are centers of infection. They also said Mexicans should refrain from customary greetings such as shaking hands or kissing cheeks.
But the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Americans need not avoid traveling to Mexico, as long as they take the usual precautions, such as frequent handwashing.

Mexicos Health Secretary, Jose Cordova, said only 16 of the deaths have been confirmed as the new swine flu strain, and that government laboratories were testing samples from 44 other people who died. At least 943 nationwide were sick from the suspected flu, the health department said. Cordova said samples also were sent to the CDC to look for matches with the virus that infected seven people in Texas and California. Cordova called it a new, different strain ... that originally came from pigs.

Epidemiologists are particularly concerned because the only people killed so far were normally less-vulnerable young people and adults. It's possible that more vulnerable populations, infants and the aged, had been vaccinated against other strains, and that those vaccines may
be providing some protection.

"We certainly have 60 deaths that we cant be sure are from the same virus, but it is probable," Cordova told MVS radio in Mexico City.

Dr. Anne Schuchat of the CDC said at this point, we do not have any confirmations of swine influenza in Mexico of the kind that sickened seven California and Texas residents. All seven recovered from symptoms
that were like those of the regular flu, mostly involving fever, cough and sore throat, though some of the seven also experienced vomiting and diarrhea.
(snip)

Closing the schools across the metropolis of 20 million kept 6.1 million students home from day care centers through high schools, and thousands more were affected as colleges and universities closed down. Parents scrambled to juggle work and family concerns due to what local
media said was the first citywide schools closure since Mexico Citys devastating 1985 earthquake. Authorities also advised capital residents not to go to work if they
felt ill, and to wear surgical masks if they had to move through crowds. A wider shutdown, perhaps including shutting down government offices, was being considered.
(snip)

Still, U.S. health officials said its not yet a reason for alarm in the United States. The five in California and two in Texas have all recovered, and testing indicates some common antiviral medications seem to work against the virus.
Schuchat of the CDC said officials believe the new strain can spread human-to-human, which is unusual for a swine flu virus.  The CDC is checking people who have been in contact with the seven confirmed U.S.cases, who all became ill between late March and mid-April.

The U.S. cases are a growing medical mystery because it is unclear how they caught the virus. The CDC said none of the seven people were in contact with pigs, which is how people usually catch swine flu. And only a few were in contact with each other. CDC officials described the virus as having a unique combination of gene segments not seen in people or pigs before. The bug contains human
virus, avian virus from North America and pig viruses from North America, Europe and Asia.
(more)

"I am opposed to any form of tyranny over the mind of man."  Thomas Jefferson


WHO Said Mexico and Calif swine flu identical
Dr. Anne Schuchat of the CDC said at this point, we do not have any confirmations of swine influenza in Mexico of the kind that sickened seven California and Texas residents. All seven recovered from symptoms
that were like those of the regular flu, mostly involving fever, cough and sore throat, though some of the seven also experienced vomiting and diarrhea.

Not what WHO spokesman Gregory Hartl told Reuters in Geneva.

Hartl also said that 12 of 18 samples taken from victims in Mexico showed the virus had a genetic structure identical to that of a swine flu virus found in California.

http://in.reuters.com/article/...

ITW(Joel J)
Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear - not absence of fear.
- Mark Twain
 


[ Parent ]
CDC - too late to contain 24 Apr 2009 19:31:20 GMT
First Soccer Match cancelled in Mexico
Following Mexico Government orders, soccer match cancelled. Source in Spanish: http://sdpnoticias.com/sdp/con...

Let me be blind to wicked text, deaf to wicked words, mute to wicked comments.

3rd possible swine flu outbreak in Mexico
3rd possible swine flu outbreak in Mexico -- WHO
Fri Apr 24, 2009 4:05pm EDT

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.
not much more info at link
http://www.reuters.com/article...

Life is not so short but that there is always time enough for courtesy. Ralph Waldo Emerson


Three Ponorogo Residents Are Bird Flu Suspects
April 24, 2009
http://www.jawapos.co.id/radar...
Ponorogo:  Bird Flu is still threatening residents.  Three residents of the Ploso Rejo Village, Desa Kemiri, of Subdistrict Jenangan, Ponorogo, are suspected to be infected with the Avian Influenza virus (AI). They were Proyoga  Dita Saputra, 4, Kateno, 37, and Wandi, 40.  At this time, the three of them are undergoing intensive maintenance in the local community health centre.  From the beginning inspection, they had the signs of the H5NI virus.  They experienced a high fever, with a body temperature of 38 degrees celcius.  In medical terms they were infected  with ILI (influenza like ilness).  The same condition was accompanied by dozens of poultries that died suddenly.  Siti Nurfaidah, the head of the Jenangan Community Health Centre, said the three bird flu suspect patients had been given tamiflu, a kind of anti-A type influenza medicine that contained osetalmivir.

"In the end inspection their health had already improved," he said.  According to him, his office has also sent the patients' blood samples for laboratory tests in RSUD Dr Hardjono Ponorogo.   Only for the time being, they had not yet received x-rays to determine  whether they were positively attacked by the deadly illness.

"We collided with the cost to undergo the x-ray process," he said.  For this week already 21 residents experienced the same signs.  However the people who were currently undergoing intensive maintenance were stated critical.

"They have improved after we gave anti-influenza medicine as an early prevention," he explained.  

Jemini, one of the residents, claimed that last month to be dozens of the residents' poultries died suddenly.  This cause was not completely known.  The number of chickens that died were buried by the residents at once, but some were consumed.

"There are those that we ate, but because of the number of chickens that died, yes enough partly were buried," he revealed.

Upon seeing this condition, the Local Agricultural Service (Disperta) immediately intervened.  Several officials carried out spraying with antibiotics in the local residents settlement.  For the chickens that were still living, now they were forced to be penned.

"That to depress the spreading of the bird flu virus," said Andi Susetyo, Head of the Disperta Animal Health.  His office still could not ascertain whether the patients who were treated in the local community health centre were bird flu positive bird flu positive, onsidering that laboratory tests had not yet been carried out against the poultry carcasses.

"The residents were late in informing the officials, so we still could not confirm," he said.  

"I am opposed to any form of tyranny over the mind of man."  Thomas Jefferson


Will Swine Flu Panic Spread Beyond Mexico?
Fears of getting a killer bug are sweeping across the Mexican capital as reports erupted about an epidemic of swine influenza that is said to have killed dozens in recent weeks. The government ordered all schools and universities in Mexico City shut and advised people to pull their children out of nurseries and avoid busy places such as restaurants, bars and cinemas. Pharmacies rapidly sold out of hygienic masks and vitamin supplements. Many clinics stuck signs on their doors advising they had run out of influenza vaccines....

...Despite some panic buying, there are no immediate signs of anyone fleeing Mexico City...


Boy, 7, Is San Diego's 4th Case of Swine Flu
CDC Readies Vaccine
http://www.time.com/time/healt...

[EXCERPT]
The CDC is working with the World Health Organization to keep track of any additional cases to determine whether and when a warning of a pandemic would be warranted. In preparation for such a scenario, the CDC has created a seed stock of a vaccine against the swine flu, which could be pushed into production should the number of cases jump significantly. The CDC did not specify what the threshold for vaccine production would be.

To calm the wife buy cases of chocolate, to calm the husband buy cases of booze, and to calm the children...... heck the booze and chocolate should work.


AP Video on Swine Flu
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

To calm the wife buy cases of chocolate, to calm the husband buy cases of booze, and to calm the children...... heck the booze and chocolate should work.

US concerns grow over swine flu with new case
..an eighth person was diagnosed with the same strain of influenza, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) said Friday...

...The new case involved a child who has recovered, Bresser said...

http://www.newfluwiki2.com/pos...


Please post new news stories to ...
Fluwiki has been busy!
Fluwiki has had 3,794 visits today. You folks have kept everyone informed. Excellent, excellent work! Thanks everyone.

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away. --Unknown

     


[ Parent ]
It's what we all do...
A collaborative effort.  :-)

[ Parent ]
PFI down?
Can someone tell me if they can get into PFI?

Tell the truth

Been trying for 15 minutes
looks like it is down to me.  

[ Parent ]
down for me too
I can't get in as well


Just rolling along, making waves and causing trouble...

[ Parent ]
I can't get in either
It is either down for routine maintenance (of course, this is a bad time for routine maintenance, what with H1N1 oinking about) or it got overloaded with too many people and crashed the server.  :-\

[ Parent ]
It's working now n/t


[ Parent ]
There are only a couple of logged in browsers
and about 11 altogether. Not enough to crash it.

[ Parent ]
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