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Saturday, April 25, 2009

Brief Swine Flu Update

Fri Apr 24, 2009 - by DemFromCT

CDC and WHO are closely following a large outbreak of swine flu in central Mexico and a much smaller cohort in the US (no data on anywhere else at this time.) You'll be hearing about it on the news (but, of course, readers of Daily Kos are well familiar with the topic.)

There are 6 documented cases of swine H1N1 in the San Diego area and Imperial County, and 2 in the San Antonio area, all relatively mild (one case was hospitalized, but not primarily for flu.) Seasonal H1N1 is an antigenically distinct virus which means that rapid flu tests cannot tell them apart (CDC will be issuing guidance to clinicians on this), and the current vaccine may not be protective. Tamiflu works, as does Relenza. while there are likely more cases in the US, there are no large scale outbreaks. Mexico is having a larger problem, but details are sketchy and will likely remain so.

This is a unique set of circumstances that's concerning enough for CDC and WHO to ramp up their surveillance, and collect data and investigate the outbreak. It is not a pandemic alert, and guidance on that topic has not changed, but this is an "evolving situation", and the story and guidance could change. It's at the very least become a news story. It could easily fizzle out in a few days, but until it does, it bears watching (and not necessarily on the front page here.)

Mexican officials, scrambling to control a swine flu outbreak that has killed at least 16 people and possibly dozens more in recent weeks, shuttered schools from kindergarten to university for millions of young people in and around the capital on Friday and urged people with flu symptoms to stay home from work.

"We’re dealing with a new flu virus that constitutes a respiratory epidemic that so far is controllable," Health Minister Jose Angel Cordova told reporters late Thursday, after huddling with President Felipe Calderón and other top officials. He said the virus had mutated from pigs and had at some point been transmitted to humans.

We've been following it at Flu Wiki forum, we will continue to do so there. As circumstances warrant, we'll update you here. In the meantime, definitive guidance can be found at CDC's web site, and for those who wish to explore more, we recommend, your state public health web site, Flu Wiki and Get Pandemic Ready, two sites with basic flu info.- courtesy Daily Kos

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