What is Swine Flu?
Swine flu, a virus that carries genes from North American swine, bird and human flu strains, also known as A (H1N1), and rarely infects humans, is actually thought to be responsible for dozens of deaths in Mexio and the infection of hundreds of others in both Mexio and in the Southwestern United States. In Mexico, they are calling it a viral outbreak.
Mexico city closes its public spaces
Mexico city has closed all of their public places, such as schools, libraries, state-owned theatres and museums to try and contain the outbreak.
There are no plans to close the border between the U.S. and Mexico at this time.
Since mid-March, the World Health Organization has stated that about 60 people have died in Mexico from this virus, and a vaccination campaign is being launched.
The strain that was found in Mexico and the strain in the U.S are now discovered to be the same.
An outbreak in Mexicali
There has been a reported outbreak in Mexicali of four people infected with swine flu.
At least 4 people have been infected with swine flu in Mexicali, Mexico, reports say.
Mexicali is the capital of the state of Baja California, along the US-Mexico border.
An outbreak in San Luis Potosi
24 recorded cases so far.
The World Health Organization says it has recorded at least 24 cases of swine flu in San Luis Potosi with 3 fatalities so far
They are not able to contain it in Mexico
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says it is likely too late to contain the swine flu outbreak in the U.S.
The cases in the United States
Seven cases have been documented so far. Five of the people are from Imperial and San Diego Counties, and two are from San Antonio - they range in age from 9 to 54.
“We don’t yet know the extent of the problem,” said Dr. Anne Schuchat, the director of respiratory diseases for the agency, “but we don’t think this is a time for major concern.”
None of the people in the U.S. had any contact with pigs, although some had contact with each other, which means the virus is being transmitted from person to person. They were infected from late March to mid-April. Only one has been hospitalized. It is not known how they contracted the virus, but all have since recovered in the U.S.
Experts are expecting to find more cases once they determine who the infected people had contact with.
The cases in Mexico
In Mexico, health authorities noticed a swell in influenze activity at the end of March, and around 60 people died because of their symptons. There could be over 800 infected cases however.
Health Minister Jose Angel Cordova said the virus "mutated from pigs and then at some point was transmitted to humans".
This kind of virus has not been seen in people or pigs before, although there have been some combinations of the three in the past, just not this exact combination.
How can it be treated?
It appears to be resistant to the drugs amantadine and rimantadine, but not to Tamiflu or Relenza, but the H1N1 virus is resistant to Tamiflu so doctors are concerned that the swine flu could become resistant to that as well.
There have only been a dozen other reported cases since 2005, but they were in people who all had contact with pigs. Pigs are very susceptible to both avian and human viruses and scientists keep a close eye on them for this reason. The way that genetic reassortment can happen in pigs could mean a new pandemic flu if it is not monitored closely.
What are the symptons?
They are like regular flu symptons, including fever, cough and sore throat, but those can be accompanied by vomiting and diarrhea.
How can you treat it?
The best way to treat it, if you think you may have it, is to go to your doctor, get them to run some tests and take an antibiotic that will help clear it up. It's also a good idea to rest, especially if you are more prone to chest infections. Wash your hands frequently and cover your nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing.
Is there a case in Canada?
There have been no reported cases in Canada so far, however health authorities are saying that if you have been to Mexico recently, then it's a good idea to get yourself checked out, just in case.
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