Monday, April 27, 2009

Fatal Flu

Swine flu has taken a toll in Mexico, according to the Associated Press.

The AP is reporting that 149 people have died in Mexico, the center of the outbreak. Two thousand people have been infected there. The US has reported 48 cases of swine flu but no fatalities due to swine flu.

"The number of U.S. cases rose to 48, the result of further testing at a New York City school, although none was fatal," said a story by the AP. "Other U.S. cases have been reported in Ohio, Kansas, Texas and California. Worldwide there were 73 cases, including six in Canada, one in Spain and two in Scotland."

Also in the report by the AP:
The swine flu epidemic entered a dangerous new phase Monday as the death toll climbed in Mexico and the number of suspected cases there and in the United States nearly doubled. The World Health Organization raised its alert level but stopped short of declaring a global emergency.

The United States advised Americans against most travel to Mexico and ordered stepped up border checks in neighboring states. The European Union health commissioner advised Europeans to avoid nonessential travel both to Mexico and parts of the United States.

The virus poses a potentially grave new threat to the U.S. economy, which was showing tentative early signs of a recovery. A widespread outbreak could batter tourism, food and transportation industries, deepening the recession in the U.S. and possibly worldwide.

According to the WHO, we shouldn't panic just yet.

"The Director-General has raised the level of influenza pandemic alert from the current phase 3 to phase 4," Dr. Margaret Chan said in a statement released on the WHO's Web site. "The change to a higher phase of pandemic alert indicates that the likelihood of a pandemic has increased, but not that a pandemic is inevitable."

My question: Should we be getting set for a pandemic? I heard on the news earlier that people are investing in face masks like crazy. has sold a lot of them today, and my wife said people were asking for them in the pharmacy today. Is that going to far? What do you think?

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