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Swine Flu In U.S. Now At 109

Posted by Jane Akre
Thursday, April 30, 2009 12:54 PM EST
Category: On The Road, Major Medical, Protecting Your Family
Tags: Pandemic, Swine Flu, CDC, Public Health, Cruise Industry, Influenza

Cruises to Mexico have been haulted following the swine flu outbreak that originated there.

As Many As 14 States

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IMAGE SOURCE:  Mail Online/ Cruise liner at sea

 

The number of confirmed swine flu cases is the U.S. has risen to 109, reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

South Carolina, Arizona, Michigan, Massachusetts, Nevada, Maine and Washington State are the latest states to report cases of the mutation of swine flu.  The only death reported so far was that of a 22-month-old boy in Texas who had traveled there from Mexico.   

New York continues to have the most cases – 51.  They originated at a prep school in Queens after several students traveled to Cancun, Mexico during spring break. Several other schools now report children suffering from the virus.   The school children cases appear to be mild.

The swine flu scare has 160,000 school children happy. 100 schools in 14 states have been shut down while the nation tries to get a handle on the infectious disease.

In Texas, the entire Fort Worth school system has stopped operating for the next week, keeping 80,000 kids out of schools. 

What Consumers Can Do

Consumers are advised to avoid confined places such as aircraft, subways and classrooms because of the flu.  Vice President Joe Biden made those remarks on the “Today Show” Thursday.

The travel industry cringed at Biden’s suggestions curtailing all travel, and has reiterated that the swine flu should not discouraged travel to or within the United States. 

Avoid travel to Mexico is the advice from a recent CDC travel warning. The death toll there is now estimated to be about 159.

Three major cruise lines have halted visits to Mexico changing their itineraries to alternate ports or more time at sea.

Washing hands is always at the top of any list to avoid spreading viruses, as well as covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze, and staying home if you feel sick or feverish. 

USA Today reports a parent whose child’s school is closed, should not take a sick child instead to a day care center, but take them home.  Employers are urged to be understanding. 

Should we be panicking?

Dr. William Schaffner, chairman of the department of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine tells CNN absolutely not. Swine flu, he said, "is not spreading all that rapidly. Take the St. Francis School in New York. There's been very little transmission from the schoolchildren to family members, and it certainly hasn't spread throughout Queens.”

WHO

The latest from the World Health Organization is that this pandemic flu has been raised to a phase 5 alert, indicating a pandemic is “imminent” reports ABC News.  Worldwide cases rose to 236 today, up from 141 on Wednesday.  

Add Switzerland, the Netherlands and Peru to the latest of 14 countries reporting cases.

In Mexico, where the swine flu variation H1N1 originated, the government has ordered all nonessential businesses to close.  People are being urged to stay home.   ABC reports a leading business group estimates the closing of establishments in Mexico City is costing at least $57 million a day.  

An official shutdown in Mexico will last 10 days.  The U.S has not closed the U.S.-Mexico border.

Flu Meds

Denmark is buying up supplies of GlaxoSmithKline’s antiviral Relenza. It already has stockpiles of Tamiflu, even though there is no guarantee the swine variant will respond to Tamiflu.

Governments around the world have been buying up supplies of both drugs, which are supposed to work against the H1N1 strain.  #


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