More news from The Travel Clinic Ltd, Ipswich - Swine flu hits Mexico and the US
Swine Influenza (swine flu) is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A influenza that regularly causes outbreaks of influenza among pigs. Swine flu viruses do not normally infect humans, however, human infections with swine flu do occur, and cases of human-to-human spread of swine flu viruses have been documented. Most commonly, human cases of swine flu happen in people who are around pigs but it's also possible for swine flu viruses to spread from person to person
1000 people have been infected in as many as 14 of Mexico's 32 states and 68 have died (case-fatality rate = ~7%).
Since March 2009, 8 human cases of new strain of influenza A (H1N1) virus, the swine flu, have been confirmed in California and Texas. All cases have recovered.Disease is highly contagious.No vaccine is available.Anti-virals, oseltamivir (Tamiflu) or zanamivir (Relenza) are recommended for treatment and/or prevention of infection with these swine influenza viruses.
A total of approximately 1000 cases have been confirmed in Mexico. In Mexico's Federal District, the number of cases rose steadily through April and as of yesterday, 26.4.2009, more than 854 cases of pneumonia - 59 of them fatal (Case-Fatality Rate of 7%) - have been reported in Mexico City. The illness outbreak in Mexico City prompted the country's health minister to cancel classes in Mexico City and advised students and adults to avoid crowded public places and large events. Mexican officials also reported 24 cases with 3 deaths from an influenza-like illness in San Luis Potosi, in the central part of the country, and 4 cases with no deaths in Mexicali, near the US border (Source: WHO).
The virus in Mexico has primarily struck otherwise healthy young adults, which is a departure from seasonal influenza, which typically affects the very young and very old. CDC's laboratory analyzed 14 samples from severely ill Mexican patients and found that 7 of them had the same swine flu mix as the virus that infected the US patients (preliminary report).
If travelling to Mexico use universal precautions especially frequent hand-washing, avoiding touching mucosal surfaces with potentially contaminated hands, avoiding close contact with ill persons or crowds if at all possible and wearing a face mask when in contact with ill person(s) is also likely.
Carry antiviral medicine oseltamivir (Tamiflu) or zanamivir (Relenza) for prophylaxis and/or treatment. If the exposure is inevitable, prophylaxis should probably be taken. If exposure can be largely prevented via above measures, antiviral medicines should be reserved for treatment. The medicines should be carried in the original box/container. This is likely to minimize or eliminate possible problems with Customs.I strongly recommend postponing any travel to Mexico in the following days based on the sizeable increase of cases and deaths already reported in the country in very few days due to Influenza A H1N1. Schools were closed due to the epidemic and other important measures are being put into action right now to control the situation.
Since March 2009, 8 confirmed human cases of a new strain of swine influenza A (H1N1) virus infection in California, Texas, and Mexico have been identified but have recovered. CDC has determined that this virus is contagious and is spreading from human to human. Samples from a deadly respiratory illness outbreak in Mexico match swine influenza isolates from patients in the United States who had milder illnesses. The virus contains gene segments from 4 different influenza types: North American swine, North American avian, human, and Eurasian swine.