Port Vila, Vanuatu (PressExposure) April 27, 2009 -- Leading a worldwide rush, the Unites States has declared a Public Health Emergency to keep under control the impact of the never before encountered virus, swine flu. In the US there have been 20 cases reported in five states. The cases have been mild, with people recovering from the virus.
Mexico has up to 80 reported deaths, with around 1,324 people becoming sick with the virus since April 13. People between 20-40 years old have died, who are young and healthy. The Mexican government it seems may have been sluggish in responding to the outbreak in March and early April. Many schools are now closed and all public meetings have been called off, including mass at a Catholic church.
The US is moving twelve million doses of the drug Tamiflu from a federal stockpile, to where it can be more readily accessed if necessary. The five already affected states will be given priority: California, Texas, New York, Ohio and Kansas.
âPeople need to think of it as a declaration of emergency preparedness,â says Director of Homeland Security, Janet Napolitano. Countries around the globe are on high alert for any symptoms that could be construed to be related to the swine flu. It would appear there is evidence of an efficient human-to-human spread of the virus. People are falling victim without having had any contact with pigs.
âThe virus has clearly a pandemic potential,â says, Margaret Chan, WHO Director General. Pandemics happen when a virus radically mutates. A virus the people have no immunity to.
Acting director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Richard Besser, says "The situation is uncertain and unpredictable and likely to be a marathon more than a sprintâ.
New viruses are formed when at least two viruses unite. Pigs are known to be particularly efficient âmixing vesselsâ. The new virus contains gene segments of the bird flu, one gene segment from a human flu and two gene segments from a pig virus.
The Avian bird flu is believed to have killed approximately 157 people, while infecting over 335 people. Around 150 million birds are reported to have been affected flu and experts say it could take several years to control the disease in poultry. Southern Asia, Turkey, and Nigeria, have all reported infected poultry. Britain, Austria, Italy, Greece, Switzerland, France and Germany also have confirmed cases. Humans catch the bird flu through contact with live infected birds. Many experts believe the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 was Avian flu virus, which killed approximately 40 million people. Many experts believe the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 was Avian flu virus, which killed approximately 40 million people.
The pandemics of 1957 and 1968 in Hong Kong, both originated from flu viruses in birds. The possibility of a global pandemic was restrained in 1976, when some 40 million Americans were inoculated in a controversial nationwide campaign. The program was called to a halt when some serious neurological conditions, believed to be inoculation related, were found in several hundred people.
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