Unusual Swine Flu Hits Seven People in U.S.
Seven people in two states in the Southwest have been hit with an unusual strain of swine flu, even though they had no contact with pigs.
This unusual version of the flu was found among five people in Imperial and San Diego Counties, California, and two cases in San Antonio, Texas. The concern is the virus is being transmitted person-to-person since the California individuals had contact with each other.
This unusual version of the swine flu is known as the A (H1N1) and contains genes from the North American swine, Eurasian swine, and bird and human flu strains, reports the New York Times. All seven patients have recovered.
It is resistant to two common flu treatment drugs, however not Tamiflu or Relenza, although the human strain is also resistant to those treatments.
The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that there are currently about 800 suspected cases of people with flu-like symptoms in Mexico. So far the illness is suspected to have killed 60 people in Mexico City, according to the WHO.
Mexican officials have closed schools from kindergarten to universities around the capital of Mexico City and is urging people with flu symptoms to stay home. "We are dealing with a new flu virus that constitutes a respiratory epidemic that so far is controllable," reports the Health Minister.
The WHO has initiated a command center for acute public health events. No word on whether a travel advisory is forthcoming. Most of the deaths have been among healthy young people.
The concern is that the respiratory disease, which regularly causes outbreaks of influenza among pigs, rarely infects humans. About a dozen cases in the last five years occured among those who had contact with pigs.
In 1976 one person in New Jersey died from swine flu. #