A two-year-old toddler from Mexico has died in a Houston, Texas hospital. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirms the child was “in fact infected with the swine virus,” reports the New York Times.
The baby was visiting Brownsville, Texas with his family. On April 13th he was admitted to the hospital.
There are no other fatalities reported in the U.S.
In Mexico, more than 150 deaths have a suspected link to the swine flu influenza H1N1 and 2,400 are sickened.
With Mexico City shutting down schools, swimming pools, restaurants, movie theatres and gyms, that country’s health secretary says the disease appears to have stabilized.
The World Health Organization reports seven countries have a confirmed 105 cases, with half in the U.S.
But France’s health minister has called for the suspension of flights from the EU to Mexico. The CDC asks travelers to avoid all unnecessary trips to Mexico and Cuba and Argentina have both stopped flights into that country.
In his strongest statement on the situation yet, President Obama is recommending any schools that have suspected cases of swine flu to close at least temporarily.
The U.S. is bracing for more cases of the flu which so far have affected 66 people in six states. New York still leads the country with the largest number of cases at 45 and California has 11.
There is no shortage of work for new Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius who won Senate confirmation Tuesday in a 65-31 vote, despite an eleventh hour attempt by Sarah Palin supporters to derail her confirmation.
Gov. Sebelius immediately resigned as governor in Kansas and made it to the White House where she took an oath of office and met over the swine flu outbreak.
A little boy who lives near a large pig farm has been identified as “Patient Zero”, the first person in Mexico confirmed with swine flu.
Five-year-old Edgar Hernandez lives in southern Mexico in La Gloria, home to 3,000 people. About 450 of the residents have complained of respiratory problems, reports the Wall Street Journal.
When his parents heard the symptoms – coughing, joint aches, fever, severe headache, and in some cases diarrhea and vomiting – they knew that was what their son experienced in late March. He recovered after a few days.
Near Edgar’s home is a joint venture large pig farm of 50,000 pigs owned by a Mexican firm and Virginia-based Smithfield Food Inc.
Smithfield Foods says it has “found no clinical signs or symptoms of the presence of North American influenza in the company’s swine herd or its employees at its joint ventures in Mexico.”
Swine flu typically results from being in close proximity to pigs or their mucus.
When a 39-year-old census taken was taken ill and died from the same flu strain the boy had, and two others were sickened around the San Diego area from the same strain, Miguel Angel Lezana, chief of the government’s national epidemiology center said to the San Francisco Chronicle, “It’s impossible” that the three outbreaks of the same strain could have almost simultaneously taken place in isolation of one another, Lezana said.
There have been no connections found among the three people.
New and unique flu strains, as this one is, are created when an earlier virus mutates within an infected person’s body and is then transmitted to others who have no or limited immunity to the unique strain.
Industrialized agriculture has been blamed for fouling water sources with E. coli, and increasing the need for antibiotics in animals in confined quarters. #