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Mexican Flu Has 'Pandemic' Written All Over It
Swine flu kills 68 in Mexico, spreads to US and infects eight
Nicolas van der Leek (Nick)     Print Article 
Published 2009-04-26 11:51 (KST)   

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The World Health Organization is in urgent meetings to decide whether to raise the world Pandemic Threat Level from 3 to 4. The United States Centers for Disease Control and Protection has said, through CDC spokesman Thomas Abraham, "We are very, very concerned."

Concern Justified

Concern is justified for the following reasons. Firstly, according to laboratory data, the swine flu represents a recombinant strain never seen before which combines American avian flu strains with swine strains of the H1N1 type. In other words this is an unusual virus.

Secondly transmissability between human beings has been verified, and the disease appears to have spread rapidly. The fact that Mexico has shut down schools, museums and libraries confirms the high threat of human-to-human transmission.

Thirdly, those who have died from swine flu have showed disturbing symptoms which correspond to pandemic flu. These include cytokine storm reactions and deadly infections in healthy adults rather than young children or older people. In other words, the stronger the immuno-response the greater and the more severe the symptoms. Simply put, the healthier the infected person the more deadly the disease becomes.

How Did It Happen?

The Campaign for Responsible Transplantation (CRT) has warned that animal-to-human organ and tissue transplantation [xenotransplantation] conducted by Doctor Valdes-Gonzalez on Mexico's diabetic children may have encouraged the recombinant strain into being.

At the same time an outbreak of H5N1 in Egypt right now appears to demonstrate something else that is unusual -- asymptomatic bird flu in human beings.

Latest Outbreaks

Eight infections have been confirmed on American soil in Texas and in California. A New York City school suffered an outbreak of flu on April 23 during which 75 students showed symptoms in a single day. So far no deaths have been reported in the US.

In Mexico the death toll from swine flu has reached 68 with hundreds of infections breaking out along the US border.

Swine flu typically involves direct contact between humans and pigs, but this is a brand new strain communicable between human beings.

Mexico

Mexico's Health Minister Jose Cordova says, "We have enough resources to combat these cases." According to an article in Bloomberg, Cordova believes the outbreak "isn't a pandemic" and the Minister has gone on to reassure citizens that "Mexico has 1 million doses of antiviral medicine to distribute."

Victor Mondragon, 45, a Mexican government worker interviewed by Time magazine, says he is still deciding whether or not to leave the city in the next few days. "I want to see how bad this thing is. If thousands start dropping dead, then I am going to run for my life."

CDC Statement

The CDC's acting director, Richard Besser, made the following comment at 2:30pm EST on April 24:
The most recently confirmed case involved a child in the San Diego area, who has recovered. Today, Mexico's Minister of Health confirmed that they have cases of swine influenza in people and that they believe some of the people who were infected died from swine influenza.

While we are now working with health officials in Mexico, we're very early on in those efforts. We've only tested a very limited number of samples from Mexico, and we do not have enough information to fully assess the health threat posed by this swine flu virus. We've tested 14 samples from Mexico, and seven of those tested positive...What we are seeing here in the United States so far are eight cases of swine flu, primarily mild disease. All have recovered. Only one of the eight has been hospitalized.

It's really critically important we learn more about what's going on in Mexico because reports from Mexico are raising concerns about much more severe disease, and in that -- in Mexico individuals who have died. We do know or have heard from the health officials in Mexico that there are other influenza viruses that are circling there. They are other viruses -- respiratory viruses circulating, and so sorting out what is caused potentially by the swine flu virus, what is caused by other or what could be caused by co-infection, those are important public health questions.
Meanwhile share prices for BioCryst, a pharmaceutical company producing key enzyme-blockers, jumped over 26 percent on Friday while Novavax, a vaccine maker, soared 75 percent.


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http://www.cdc.gov/media/transcripts/2009/t090423.htm
http://www.reuters.com/article/bondsNews/idUSB8851520090425

For more visit www.nickvanderleek.com
©2009 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Nicolas van der Leek

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