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Human Swine Influenza Outbreak Investigation - Symptoms

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Guest Witkin

The world health body defines "possible swine flu" as cases where the patient tested positive for Influenza A -- the general category of strains that includes the H1N1 swine virus. But further tests are needed to verify whether they are positive for that specific virus.

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Guest maryland.gov

Governor Martin O’Malley today named six individuals to an advisory board to advise him and the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene on issues related to swine flu in Maryland. The advisory board has already provided advice and recommendations as the state deals with six “probable” cases swine flu. Further testing is now being done by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

 

“The members of this advisory board represent some of the best minds in medicine, infectious disease and pediatrics and have already provided invaluable advice and guidance,” said Governor O’Malley. “While we making every preparation we can as a state, the decisions ahead may broadly impact the lives of all Marylanders, and each member of this advisory board brings the scientific, clinical and academic guidance that will be immensely valuable in this decision-making process. We fully expect to see more cases of swine flu in Maryland, and will continue to provide the public with the latest information possible.”

 

The Governor appointed Drs. John G. Bartlett, Frank M. Calia, Thomas V. Inglesby, James P. Nataro, Ina Stephens and Ivan C.A. Walks to the advisory board, who have been working closely with the Governor and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene for the past several days.

 

Dr. Bartlett is a Professor of Medicine in the division of the Johns Hopkins University School Medicine. He previously served for 26 years as chief of the Infectious Disease Division at the school. He has worked in several areas of research, all related to his specialty in infectious diseases. His major interests at Hopkins have been HIV/AIDS, managed care of patients with HIV infection, and bioterrorism. In 2005, Dr. Bartlett was awarded the Infectious Diseases Society of America Alexander Fleming Award and the Finland Award from the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases. He has authored more than 500 articles and reviews.

 

Dr. Calia is chairman of the Department of Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and professor emeritus of Medicine and Microbiology and Immunology at the School of Medicine. He also served as chief of Medical Services at the Baltimore VA Medical Center. He has contributed to 10 books and over 50 publications in refereed journals and serves as a reviewer for a number of professional medical journals. Dr. Calia’s major interests are in infectious diseases, bacterial diarrhea, staphylococcal infections, vibrio infections and clinical pharmacology.

 

Dr. Inglesby is the Chief Operating Officer and Deputy Director for the Baltimore-based Center for Biosecurity of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Board-certified in infectious diseases, he also is associate professor of Medicine and Public Health at the University of Pittsburgh Schools of Medicine and Public Health. He was one of the founding members of the Johns Hopkins Center for Civilian Biodefense Strategies, where he was Deputy Director from 1999-2003. Dr. Inglesby was a principal designer, author and controller of the widely-recognized Atlantic Storm exercise of 2005 and of the Dark Winter smallpox exercise of 2001.

 

Dr. Nataro is a board-certified practitioner in pediatrics and pediatric infectious diseases. He serves as professor of Pediatrics, Medicine and Microbiology, and Immunology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. He also is the Associate Director of the Center for Vaccine Development, Vice Chair of the Department of Pediatrics, and head of the Division of Infectious Diseases and Tropical Pediatrics. His research focuses on vaccine development and rapid molecular diagnostic techniques for infectious diseases, including detection of respiratory viruses.

 

Dr. Stephens is assistant professor of Pediatric Infectious Diseases and General Pediatrics, and Associate Program Director of Pediatrics at the University of Maryland School of Medicine. She also serves as program director of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Fellowship at the School of Medicine. She is board-certified in Pediatrics and Pediatric Infectious Diseases. Dr. Stephens is principal investigator in an ongoing research project for an open-label study of intramuscular inactivated influenza a/H5N1 vaccine in health children aged two years to 10 years.

 

Dr. Walks is the CEO and President of Ivan Walks and Associates in Montgomery County, a firm that counts among its many accomplishments disaster preparedness training in jurisdictions across the nation. He is a former Chief Health Officer for the District of Columbia and was the Director of the Department of Public Health for the District. Dr. Walks was instrumental in establishing a District-wide health policy, and was instrumental in developing proactive programs and interventions that resulted in a twenty percent drop in infant mortality, the lowest rate and unprecedented reduction in the District’s history.

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Guest Ursula

A World Bank employee who traveled to Mexico has been diagnosed with swine flu in the first suspected case in the US capital, and a second test is being carried out, the bank said Thursday.

 

On Tuesday, an employee was "preliminarily diagnosed" with the new human swine flu virus, but he has since made a full recovery.

 

"The final diagnosis has to be confirmed by a second test performed by the Center for Disease Control, a process which is under way," the bank said in a statement.

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Guest Sergio Jellinek

World Bank President Robert B. Zoellick today announced that the World Bank will support Mexico’s efforts to fight the spread of the Swine Flu virus with more than $205 million in fast disbursing funds. At the closing press conference of the World Bank/IMF Spring Meetings, Zoellick made the announcement together with Mexico’s Finance Minister, Agustín Carstens.

 

“We're extremely grateful for the prompt response by the World Bank -- such promptness is always very, very appreciated,” said Carstens. “But beyond resources, what is also important is all the experience that the World Bank has accumulated in precisely having assisted other countries in this type of situation."

 

US$25 million will be re-directed to this purpose from the ongoing Mexico health project (PROCEDES) to meet urgent needs such as the purchase of drugs and related supplies.

 

In addition the World Bank has started the preparation of a US$180 million project under a Global Facility for Avian Influenza to help the Government of Mexico finance the full range of strategic, epidemiologic, regulatory, institutional, and operational activities needed for an effective response and allow for retroactive financing which would allow financing expenditures being made currently.

 

“Our first, second, and third focus is on people’s health and lives,” said Zoellick. He explained that the World Bank is also helping Mexico with the lessons learned from other similar experiences in fighting SARS and Avian Flu. "Part of what we’re doing is also connecting Mexico with other governments that have had this issue. When a government gets hit by this, it moves fast. The best thing you can do is talk to somebody else who has been through this crisis"

 

The project will be fast-tracked so that funds can be disbursed in a period of 3-5 weeks. The World Bank will also assist Mexico in assessing the economic impact of the crisis and helping it to devise counter-measures to ensure that the effects of the outbreak are kept in check.

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Guest staffer

For consumers who want to buy prescription drugs online, the FDA recommends purchasing only from state–licensed pharmacies in the U.S. To check if the spam is licensed and in good standing, contact the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy (NABP) at www.nabp.net. For a list of state boards of pharmacy, visit

http://www.nabp.net.

 

Look for the Verified Internet Pharmacy Practice Sites, or VIPPS, seal. VIPPS is a voluntary program by NABP that verifies the legitimacy of Internet sites dispensing prescription drugs. More information about the program and a list of pharmacies that carry the seal are listed at http://www.vipps.info/.

 

Be wary if there is no way to contact the Web site pharmacy by phone.

 

Be wary of very low or very high prices – the average cost for TAMIFLU is $80 to $90 for a course of treatment. Anything below or above that amount should be a red flag.

 

Beware of advertisements, Web sites and e–mails that ask you to waive your legal rights in order to participate in their prescription program.

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FDA is working to address human infection with the 2009 H1N1 flu virus as part of a team led by the Department of Health and Human Services.

 

FDA is responding to this threat by:

 

working with other government agencies and manufacturers on a series of issues related to antiviral medications

growing the 2009 H1N1 flu virus and preparing to make vaccine seed lots, which may be used eventually to produce a safe and effective vaccine

helping to prepare reagents needed for vaccine production and coordinating closely with other public health agencies for clinical development and testing

accelerating access to new diagnostic tools for this 2009 H1N1 flu virus.

Edited by Luke_Wilbur

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FDA 1-888-INFO-FDA

 

CDC 1-800-CDC-INFO

 

cdcinfo@cdc.gov

Edited by Luke_Wilbur

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As the threat of swine flu gains more public attention and media coverage, it’s likely that children will hear something about it on television or at school. Here are some tips to help you minimize your child’s fears while providing tips that can help him or her stay healthy.

 

Flu Worries and Your Child's Mental Health

 

Children are happiest when they can continue in the routines that make them feel comfortable and safe. Therefore, keeping your child inside and restricting social interactions with peers when flu rumors begin to circulate may be stressful for your child. By staying informed and teaching sensible precautions, you can keep life as normal as possible and help your child feel more secure.

 

What to Say

 

Find out what they know.

Ask your child to tell you what he or she already knows about the topic. Having your child tell you what she or he has heard, instead of you telling them about it, lets you know what misconceptions or misunderstandings you may need to address.

 

Explain the facts.

 

Your child may have a lot of questions about swine flu. Clearing up your child’s confusion and providing the facts may make him or her less worried.

 

Tailor the information to your child’s developmental level, using words you know he or she will understand. (see simple definitions below)

For example, you may wish to explain that swine flu is a sickness that pigs can get and these germs that cause pigs to become ill can change over time to become a sickness that people can get and pass to each other.

Be sure to explain that doctors and the government are working to protect everyone, and will be ready to treat children and families if the flu continues to spread quickly.

 

Talk about hygiene.

 

Having a discussion about flu provides an excellent opportunity to reinforce good hygiene practices, as they will not only help protect a child during a flu pandemic, but will also keep him or her healthier in general.

 

Teach your child to wash hands frequently. The correct way to wash hands is to rub them vigorously together for 10 to 15 seconds using soap and water. Explain that hands pick up invisible little germs that can make people sick. The germs get inside when they touch their eyes, nose, or mouth. Washing with soap and water gets rid of the germs before they can make them sick. Another option is to use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Sanitizers with at least 70% isopropyl alcohol or 60% ethyl alcohol are effective.

Teach your children to cover coughs and sneezes with tissues. Explain that the germs are caught in the tissue and can’t get out where they can make other people sick. Make sure they know that they should throw away the tissue in a garbage and then wash their hands. Since many children do not carry tissues, you may want to remind them that if they have no tissue, it is ok to sneeze or cough into their elbow, so their hands don’t get dirty and so the germs do not spread into the air.

Teach your children to be careful not to get too close to others if he or she feels sick, or if the other person feels sick.

Teach your child to practice good general health habits that help them stay healthy, like eating a balanced diet, exercising, and getting enough rest.

 

Flu Vaccine

 

If you take your child to get a yearly flu vaccine, he or she may wonder why everyone can’t simply be vaccinated to keep from getting swine flu.

 

If your child asks, explain that scientists have just started to work on developing a vaccine, but it can take several months to create it and make sure it works against this flu.

 

Containing the Flu

 

It is important that you help your child understand the directions being given by the schools, health authorities, and government to help prevent further spread of the flu and why they are important. Understanding that everyone, including children, can play a role in helping to prevent further spread of the flu can assist your child in feeling like he or she is contributing and helping the community.

 

If your child is not feeling well and seems to have symptoms of the flu, call your pediatrician. Follow your pediatrician’s recommendations, including guidance about when to stay home from school.

 

Make a Plan

 

If a pandemic flu does emerge, anticipate that your child’s routines may be interrupted. You may even find that authorities advise you to stay in your home to prevent the spread of the illness. Think about what you will need in the event that this occurs and make a plan for your family so that you are prepared. Stock up on food, water, and medications. Also have games, activities, and ways to communicate with friends (like over email) ready for your children to make the time spent confined at home less stressful. Providing developmentally appropriate art, play, and other expressive activities can assist your child to express how they feel and improve your communication with them while also providing entertainment or distraction while home.

 

Stay informed of recent developments.

 

Check http://www.pandemicflu.gov/ or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at http://www.cdc.gov/ frequently for updates.

Use national and local pandemic hotlines that will be established if there is a global influenza outbreak.

Listen to radio and television, and read media stories about the pandemic and follow the instructions of your local health authorities.

Common flu terms defined

 

Pandemic

 

A pandemic is a global disease outbreak. The disease spreads easily from person to person and can sweep across the country and around the world in very short time.

Pandemic flu

 

Human flu that causes a global outbreak of serious illness. This is different from the common flu because there is little natural immunity to this strain of the flu. This disease can spread easily from person to person.

Seasonal (or common) flu

 

A respiratory illness that can be transmitted person to person. Most people have some immunity, and a vaccine is available.

Swine Influenza (swine flu)

 

A respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A influenza viruses that cause regular outbreaks in pigs. People do not normally get swine flu, but human infections can and do happen. There is no human immunity and currently no vaccine is available, although scientists are working to develop one.

Edited by Luke_Wilbur

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Guest Guest

Don't like being the bearer of bad news; BUT?

 

 

 

 

World Bank: DC employee likely has swine flu

2 hours ago

 

WASHINGTON (AP) — Some employees of the World Bank in Washington are being asked to work from home after one of their colleagues was preliminarily diagnosed with swine flu.

 

The bank said Thursday that the man is believed to have been exposed to the illness while traveling in Mexico for business from April 13 to 18. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will do a second test to confirm the diagnosis.

 

The man has been treated by a doctor and has made a full recovery.

 

The bank is calling other employees who came in close contact with the man and asking them to work from home, though it did not say how many employees might be affected.

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Guest Robert J. Glass

Targeted social distancing to mitigate pandemic influenza can be designed through simulation of influenza's spread within local community social contact networks.

 

The critical importance of children and teenagers in transmission of influenza is first identified and targeted. For influenza as infectious as 1957–58 Asian flu (≈50% infected), closing schools and keeping children and teenagers at home reduced the attack rate by >90%.

 

For more infectious strains, or transmission that is less focused on the young, adults and the work environment must also be targeted. Tailored to specific communities across the world, such design would yield local defenses against a highly virulent strain in the absence of vaccine and antiviral drugs.

 

Contact Network

 

A network is created by specifying groups of given sizes (or range of sizes) within which persons of specified ages interact (e.g., school classes, households, clubs). The average number of links per person within the group is also specified because cliques form or are imposed (e.g., seating in a classroom). This number is used to construct a within-group network that can take various forms. We used fully connected, random, or ring networks for each group.

 

All children and teenagers attended preschool or school; children attended 1 class/day, while teenagers attended 6 (classes of 20 to 35 children or teenagers). All adults went to work daily, where they interacted with other adults (work group size 10–50), and all older adults attended gatherings with other older adults (gathering size 5–20). For links within school classes, work, and gatherings of older adults, we assumed the simplest subnetwork that imposes local clustering: a ring lattice in which a person is linked to 2 (for children or teenager classes and gatherings of older adults) or 3 (adult work) neighboring persons on each side along the ring. Mean link contact frequencies for children in a class are 6/day. Teenager classes, adult work, and gatherings of older adults have mean link contact frequencies of 1/day.

 

To represent additional within-age class interactions, such as extracurricular activities, playgrounds, bowling leagues, or friends, persons are randomly linked to an average of 3 other persons of the same age class (mean link contact frequency 1/day). Finally, to emulate a somewhat patterned set of random contacts from commercial transactions and other ventures into public spaces, we impose a random overall network across all age classes with a mean of 25 links/person to yield 1 contact/person/day (mean link contact frequency 0.04/day).

 

 

THIS MEANS STAY AWAY FROM PUBLIC PLACES

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Guest LAW_*

The spread of influenza within the contact network is modeled as a series of 2 classes of events: transition of a person between disease states and person-to-person transmission of influenza.

 

After the latent state, an infected person transitions to an infectious presymptomatic state or an infectious asymptomatic state.

 

Infected asymptomatic persons continue interacting without behavioral changes. There is a notion of 'let's go along with sickness', in other words, there are at bottom thoughts of coexistence with it. There is such a concept behind it that, if a person does not manifest illness, that would be enough. Small-particle aerosols are expelled from infected individuals to new hosts.

 

The transmission time is less than the period during which the person will be in an infectious state.

 

Persons who are symptomatic die or become immune.

 

Limiting social interaction is critical in holding back an epidemic until vaccines are deployed on a sufficient scale that subsequent relaxation of these rigorous measures will not result in a consequential acceleration in the scale of the outbreak.

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Guest mm

I noticed that in many situations were the occassion is to share a meal with others, a house, a restaurant, etc, there is often at least one person sick. Often it’s the cook, the waitress bringing the plate of food, or if a potluck, or salad bar, any number of diners can transmit their germs to the community food.

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Guest mm

I quite often people eat with their fingers, that is they have to smack the food off their fingers, then their fingers are everywhere else. I've seen them dunk their fingers in salad bars as well. I've witnessed a whole family, adults and kids, all with a cough, and all sticking their fingers in their mouths, and then their hands touch tables, chairs, etc.

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Guest Fed Up

Stay away from direct or indirect contact with the feces of infected pigs or humans.

 

Stay away from direct or indirect contact with infected pigs or humans.

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Guest Luke

The air we breathe is filled with potential disease carrying germs.

 

Our nose is a aerosol container. It is the only means bacteria and viruses are aerosol spread. If we just sneeze without at first covering our nose with a handkerchief or our hands or by blocking the outpouring of highly charged bugs' we are in danger of infecting others.

 

It is now recommended by some caring people that the best way to sneeze is by sneezing into our elbow and not into our hands. This is if we do not have or do not have the time at first get a tissue. By this method we do not contaminate our hands. I have actually seen this done by many, and I applaud their consideration of others.

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Guest flucinex

Ben Franklin said "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure"

If Ben were here today he would say "4 billion CFU's of prevention per capsule......priceless"

 

What's a CFU?

 

Colony Forming Units of four unique strains of active living cultures delivered in a titanium dioxide capsule technology. We're going to send them directly into your small intestine before we let them out to colonize and multiply.

 

Take Flucinex twice daily during flu season (or any time you feel your immune system is compromised or there are too many sick people around you) You will feel more alive, refreshed, and energetic. You will have an excited immune system, ready to take on the flu virus or the common cold. Each bottle of Flucinex contains 60 T-caps (a one month supply for one person).

 

Buy Flucinex today and be ready! All orders placed before 2pm EST ship the same day!

 

http://www.flucinex.com

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Guest flucinex

*Swine Flu warning*

 

To our valued customers:We are experiencing a large volume of customers requesting overnight shipping as a result of the swine flu outbreak. Overnight shipping costs $40.00 on average. Our standard shipping gets the product to you within 2 business days with no additional costs. We want you to save your money, and we promise to process and ship your order expedentially!

 

http://www.flucinex.com

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Guest Human_*

This sucker is spreading like Wild Fire.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

http://www.nbc29.com/Global/story.asp?S=10...nav=menu496_2_3

 

 

2 Swine Flu Cases in Virginia

 

Posted: April 30, 2009 07:09 PM EDT

 

Updated: April 30, 2009 07:56 PM EDT

 

The Virginia Department of Health has announced two cases of swine flu in Virginia. State Health Commissioner Karen Remley says the patients are an adult male from eastern Virginia and an adult female from Central Virginia.

 

Both had traveled to Mexico, both had mild illnesses and are recovering well. Neither required hospitalization. Neither are students.

 

Given the state's population, seasonal travel patterns and theease with which the flu virus is spread, Remley said there will likely be more cases.

 

She encouraged anyone experiencing fever, cough and sore throat to stay home from work or school and call their doctor.

 

Read the full press release from the VDH here.

 

There have been just over 100 cases in the United States. A child from Mexico visiting Texas did die after contracting swine flu.

 

Mexico's health secretary said earlier today there were 260 confirmed swine flu cases there, including 12 deaths. But he says the number of new cases is stabilizing and he'll stop updating the count of suspected cases and deaths, which had stood at about 2,500 and 168, respectively.

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Guest Elton

LOL that picture is great. We need to put some more humor in these boards.

 

As of April 30, 2009 there are eight probable cases of swine influenza (flu) in the state of Maryland including one in Montgomery County. Montgomery County health officials are monitoring the situation and working closely with hospitals and community physicians and will provide updates as needed.

 

Please visit the links below for information on what you can do to prevent the spread of the H1N1 virus. Information is also included for health care professionals.

 

Call the County’s Public Health Information Line at 240-777-4200 for more information.

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Guest Dr. Ulder J. Tillman

As expected, Montgomery County has identified a probable case of H1N1 (Swine) flu that we are following closely. The County Executive and health officials are working closely on an hour-by-hour basis with the Governor’s office, as well as state and federal health officials. We expect confirmatory tests to be completed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the next several days. I want to assure everyone that we are doing everything we can at the present time and we will continue to respond as the situation unfolds.

 

The definition of a “probable” case is an individual with flu-like symptoms who has a recent history of travel to an area affected by swine flu or contact with a known case and has preliminary testing suggestive of a novel virus that needs further confirmation.

 

The probable case was an individual who traveled to Mexico on business. The individual is recovering from their illness and was not hospitalized. Due to confidentiality concerns, no further information about the individual will be released.

 

We are also working closely with the Montgomery County Public Schools on necessary precautions involving this particular case, as the individual is related to a school staff member.

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Guest Steven W.

Prevent the Spread of Illness in the Home

 

Flu can spread easily from person to person therefore, anyone living in or visiting a home where someone has influenza can become infected. For this reason, it is important to take steps to prevent the spread of influenza to others in the home.

 

What Caregivers Can Do

 

Caregivers need to separate flu patients from other people as much as possible. When practical, the ill person should stay in a separate room away from other persons. Other people living in the home should limit contact with the ill person as much as possible. One person in the household should be the main caregiver for the ill person. Ideally, this caregiver should be healthy and not have medical conditions that would put him or her at risk of severe influenza disease.

 

Medical conditions as much as considered “high risk” include the following:

 

Pregnancy Diabetes

Heart problems Kidney Disease

Disease or treatment that suppresses the immune system Age over 65

Chronic lung diseases

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Guest Suzanne Stephens Waller

Progress in Health Emergency Actions to Control Influenza A Says Mexico Health Secretary

 

Thursday, April 30, 2009 | Press Release

 

•679 diagnoses carried out

•312 positive Influenza A cases

•Financial resources total 1.67 billion pesos.

Mexico City. During his second press conference today, Health Secretary José Á Córdova reported that the 679 tests carried out to date have yielded 312 positive results, while the death toll from Influenza A in Mexico has levelled off at 12.

 

Accompanied by Social Development Secretary Ernesto Cordero, the Health Secretary listed the actions carried out since the announcement of the health emergency on April 23.

 

In the Health Secretariat building, Secretary Córdova added that 1.67 billion pesos (120 million USD) have been assigned for medicine, surgical masks and machinery that will enable Influenza A tests to be carried out.

 

The Secretary explained that 77 households have been visited in various states in Mexico in which two persons with Influenza A were located, who are already being treated in Mexico State.

 

The Secretary of Social Development said that welfare programs will remain unaffected during the country's current health contingency.

 

http://www.presidencia.gob.mx/en/press/?contenido=44577

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Guest Suzanne Stephens Waller

Address by Mexican President Felipe Calderón

 

Mexicans:

Good evening.

 

Over the past few days, Mexico has faced one of the most serious problems of the past few years, a health emergency caused by the appearance of a new virus which, until last Thursday, was absolutely unknown, not only in Mexico but in the rest of the world. Precisely because this is a new, unknown virus, technically this phenomenon is known as an epidemic, namely the swine flu epidemic.

 

Unfortunately, lives have been lost. I would like to express my deepest condolences to the relatives of those that have died as a result of this disease.

 

At the moment, it is extremely difficult to determine when and how this virus arose. However, we do know that in late March and early April, cases began to be detected in the United States and Mexico of persons with flu-like symptoms or rather those resembling common or seasonal flu that normally appear in winter.

 

Given this unusual situation, Mexico launched an alert on April 16. This was an epidemiological alert for medical authorities throughout the country and in hospitals to take the proper precautions to protect families' health. Samples of people who had been ill were sent to the world’s finest laboratories in the United States and Canada for detailed analysis.

 

Once Mexico received the results of these analyses carried out in the United States and Canada last Thursday, April 23, the Mexico government, through the Health Secretary informed the population that a new swine fever virus had been detected in the United States that was also present in Mexico. I immediately convened an urgent cabinet meeting to take the appropriate measures to protect your and your families' health.

 

Fortunately, in preparation for an epidemic like this that could strike any day, in recent years, Mexico acquired over a million doses of antiviral medicine that cure this disease that we are now using to heal sick patients.

 

For me, as president, as a father and as a person, the life and health of Mexicans is crucial. There is no other factor or consideration above Mexicans’ health.

 

That is why we informed the Mexican people of this situation on April 23 and schools were immediately suspended in the Federal District and Mexico State, the two states where most of the cases had been detected. The aim is to stop our children and young people from being infected.

 

Since Thursday night, we have also been publicizing the preventive measures we should take to reduce infection, such as: washing your hands frequently, covering your mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, or, if you don't have a tissue, with the crook of your arm, and not giving people a kiss or shaking hands when you greet them. Other measures include staying away from crowded areas, especially closed areas or those with very little ventilation and if you have to use public transport, using a surgical mask.

 

In this respect, I would like to congratulate all the inhabitants of the Mexico City Metropolitan Zone and in general, all the Mexicans that have implemented this preventive measure of using surgical masks, because the systematic use of the latter has reduced the possibilities of infection among the population.

 

We have also recommended using soap and water to clean taps, door handles, bathrooms, banisters and telephones, particularly in public places.

 

The logic of preventive measures is oriented towards preventing infection, which occurs when we have contact with people that may have this disease yet fail to take the proper precautions.

 

That is why I would urge everyone during this public holiday from May 1 to 5 to stay in, because there is no better place to avoid infection from the swine flu virus than your own home.

 

At the same time, we have also reported on the symptoms of this disease: high temperature, headaches, muscular pains, coughing and runny nose, among others, so that anyone with these symptoms immediately goes to the doctor.

 

Since then, all public and private hospitals, including those in the Health Secretariat, the Mexican Social Security Institute, the ISSSTE, the General Navy Hospital in the Federal District, health institutes such as the Institute of Respiratory Diseases and many others, hospitals in the state health systems, in short, all these places are open to deal with the public.

 

We are acting in a timely fashion and have not hesitated to reinforce, where possible, the preventive measures that will enable us to protect Mexicans’ health.

 

We have taken every precaution to combat the emergence of this new worldwide virus. The good news is that this disease is curable and that we have all the medicine we need to be able to give it to anyone that has the virus. The point is that anyone with this disease should be attended immediately the moment the first symptoms appear. That is the key to being cured.

 

In order to control the spread of the virus, we have taken the necessary preventive measures, in addition to which society has responded in a responsible fashion. We have enough medicine and a first-rate medical corps and nurses to deal with any cases that may arise.

 

On Monday 27, we extended the measure of suspending classes to the rest of the country, to all the states in the country in order to be able to cope better and on a larger scale with the threat of the swine flu virus.

 

And, as the Health Secretary reported a few moments ago, this measure, which is strictly preventive, has been extended to other activities. There will be no government activities except those that are crucial for citizens and none in the private sector that are not essential to everyday life.

 

From May 1 to 5, there will be no activities. There will be a public holiday except, of course, for all those activities that affect the provision of essential goods and services for the community or community life itself.

 

In other words, this measure excludes the police, doctors, the army, gas stations, banks, supermarkets, shops, corner stores, and pharmacies which will continue to operate normally. It also excludes hotels and restaurants where there are no crowds, in other words, where they can comfortably accommodate all their guests especially if they are visitors from other areas or from abroad.

 

Everyday activities that are crucial to society will continue to be carried out normally but we will suspend the rest, most government and private sector activities from May 1 to 5, taking advantage of the fact that there are several public holidays during this period.

 

I would like to acknowledge the heroic work of the health sector throughout the country. I would also like to congratulate the doctors, nurses and administrative workers of the Social Security Institute, the ISSSTE, the health institutes and centers, and the hospitals and clinics throughout the country who will no doubt continue working at full capacity over the next few days and as long as necessary.

 

The state governments' health authorities have also acted with joint responsibility and professionalism to cope with this situation. We also appreciate their hard work and the timeliness with which they have acted.

 

The unity of Mexicans is crucial to overcoming this problem and eliminating this disease.

 

Incidentally, Mexico now has state-of-the-art equipment that is being used to detect the slightest presence of the new virus, the swine flu virus.

 

This will provide us with far more accurate information on how this epidemic evolves and how many people actually have this disease and how many people, with flu-like symptoms, actually have another illness such as flu or the common cold or respiratory illnesses other than swine flu.

This in turn will allow us to see whether the protective measures we have implemented since last Thursday are sufficient or whether we should increase them or whether, on the contrary, we can reduce some of them.

 

Today, the World Health Organization, the organization responsible for dealing with these problems, with whom we are working closely and whose indications and recommendations we are following to the letter, have raised the worldwide alert to Level 5.

 

Why?

 

Because this new virus is now present in several countries. I would like to point out that Mexico anticipated the actions and measures suggested by the World Health Organization for Level 5 such as the suspension of classes, the recommendation that people with flu symptoms should avoid going to public places and obviously go to the doctor immediately and suspending certain activities, among others.

 

I would like you to know that Level 5 does not mean that this epidemic has been exacerbated in Mexico but rather that two things have been proved:

 

First: That the virus is spread from person to person, which we already knew, but it has now been demonstrated that there are proven cases of swine flu in several countries: in Mexico, the United States, Spain, England and New Zealand, which is why the alert was raised to Level 5.

 

I would like to highlight the supportive response of the international community to this problem which has implications for the whole world. I would particularly like to highlight the close communication and coordination we have established with the governments of the United States, Canada, Spain and others, such as the World Health Organization and other international organizations.

 

I would also like to highlight the support Mexico has received. For example, tomorrow we will receive medical equipment, such as gloves, surgical masks and other materials donated by the government of China and other countries that have supported our country.

 

I would like to stress that economic and commercial activity has continued virtually normally, regardless of the holiday we will have from May 1 to 5. There are enough supplies to last throughout this period, there is enough medicine for all the cases registered to date and for a million more, if this proved necessary in Mexico and there is enough space in hospitals to deal with those that may become infected by the virus.

 

I would like to add that although most of the government’s actions to date have focused on containing the epidemic, and preventing it from spreading throughout the population, the economy continues to operate and once this contingency is over, we will resume these activities with renewed enthusiasm to promote growth, on the basis of the strategy we planned at the beginning of this year.

 

Despite the severity of this problem, and the amount of worry it causes, Mexicans should be proud of the maturity and responsibility with which society has responded to this situation.

 

Mexicans grasped the severity of the situation from the outset. I know that for many families, these contingency measures have entailed a sacrifice. I know that this has affected their economy and I know that many of you have had to cancel your activities and seen your income drop but it is worth it if we can protect our families' health and protect Mexico from this disease.

 

Now is the time to be at home with our families and spend time with our children and explain what is happening simply and without fear. It is time to explain that we are working to deal with this disease and that cooperation by everyone, children and adults, involves staying at home and making every effort to avoid going to crowded places and taking the preventive measures I have explained.

 

It is time to spend time with our children and siblings and parents, to carry out household repairs and encourage family life now that, because of the guidelines to prevent the spread of the swine flu virus, we will have to spend the next few days at home.

 

Friends:

 

At times of difficulty, Mexicans have always united to cope with their problems.

 

This difficult situation has shown us that, despite its severity, Mexico has the strength of character and ability to overcome any challenge. Each Mexican has the necessary awareness, responsibility, and solidarity to enable us to fight this disease together, which we will.

 

On behalf of Federal Government, I would like to say that we will continue acting determinedly to protect your health and that of your family and overcome this serious problem affecting Mexico.

 

But I am sure we will overcome it and pull through. Particularly if we go on as we have done until now, with everyone cooperating to solve the problem.

 

We will continue to provide timely, transparent information on the evolution of this contingency, the measures we will continue to adopt and the recommendations for protecting your well-being.

 

As we have always done, we will speak to the people of Mexico with the truth and responsibility the situation requires.

 

I am sure that if we continue acting with the responsibility and maturity all Mexicans have shown so far, our great country, Mexico, will pull through and be stronger and more united than ever.

 

Thank you.

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Guest Mr. Davis

I understand that the technical name of this disease is Type H1N1-A. Is that correct? "H1N1-A" sounds less prejudicial that "swine." Also, perhaps the virus has a less lethal effect on patients in the cooler weather. I wonder why?

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