Swine flu update
A new virus has killed up to 149 people in Mexico and the World Health Organization moved closer on Monday to declaring it the first flu pandemic in 40 years as more people were infected in the United States and Europe.
The WHO raised its pandemic alert level for the swine flu virus to phase 4, indicating a significantly increased risk of a pandemic, a global outbreak of a serious disease.
The last such outbreak, a "Hong Kong" flu pandemic in 1968, killed about 1 million people.
Although the new flu strain has so far killed people only in Mexico, there were more than 40 confirmed cases in the United States, including 20 at a New York City school where eight cases were already identified. ...
Spain became the first country in Europe to confirm a case of swine flu when a man who returned from a trip to Mexico last week was found to have the virus.
Texas health authorities confirmed a third case of swine flu at a school near the Mexican border and California said it now had 11 confirmed cases.
The U.S. State Department and the European Union urged citizens to avoid non-essential travel Mexico and other areas affected by swine flu.
Mexico relies on tourism as its third biggest source of foreign currency and millions of Americans travel there every year.
Mexican Health Minister Jose Angel Cordova said the outbreak was now suspected of having killed 149 people and warned the number of cases would keep rising.
Thirty-three million Mexican schoolchildren will be off school until the middle of next week as authorities seek to contain the outbreak. Schools in the sprawling capital had already been closed but the government ordered classes canceled across the country until May 6.
Honestly, the first thing we should do -- right now -- is shut down the southern border, and end all travel between the US and Mexico. That sounds harsh, and possibly even knee-jerk, but at this point can we really afford to take the risk? I think not. The WHO claims this is "contained" but as of 10 PM Arizona time tonight, the cases here int he US have climbed to over fifty. That's not containment.
Good news is that none of the cases here in the US have ended in death. People are responding to the appropo treatment. It's elsewhere where there are problems. We can send them what they need to curtail the outbreak, but we need to focus on our status first, and we can't really afford to wait and see if other cases break out. So long as travel between Mexico and the US is kept at the status quo levels, we risk further endangerment to our citizens.
It's time to pull the plug until Mexico can get this contained. We shouldn't rely on the eggheads working for the UN to tell us when this possible pandemic is contained. We need to work on our own efforts at containment. It starts with actions, not teleprompter-issued words and platitudes.