A New Kind of Flu

by Laurie on Apr. 23rd, 2009

I thought we were done with the flu season this year - but the CDC reports seven cases of a new strain of swine influenza A (H1N1). Check out the CDC alert and this Reuters article.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

ARTiFactor's picture
ARTiFactor says:

The World Health Organization says it suspects swine flu has killed 60 people and infected 800 others in Mexico. Read about it here - BBC or here: Yahoo .

posted on Fri, 04/24/2009 - 12:17pm
ARTiFactor's picture
ARTiFactor says:

A New York Times headline:
Mexico Shuts Schools Amid Deadly Flu Outbreak

posted on Fri, 04/24/2009 - 12:24pm
Laurie's picture
Laurie says:

From the article:

"Health officials in the United States were working to determine whether the Mexican outbreak was tied to the unusual strain of swine flu that has been circulating among people in the American Southwest but is not known to have caused any deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention."

Do you think it is wise that the Mexican government has shut down schools and told it citizens to stay away from large gatherings?

posted on Fri, 04/24/2009 - 12:47pm
Laurie's picture
Laurie says:

Here is some new information on this developing story (this is from a colleague at NIH).

Overview of Swine Flu Situation (as of April 24, 2009 – 8:00 PM)

Since Tuesday, April 21, CDC has identified and confirmed eight human cases of swine flu. Six of these have been in individuals in the San Diego and Imperial County areas of California. Two of the cases have been found in the San Antonio, Texas area. So far, there is no known connection between the California and Texas cases.

All eight individuals have exhibited symptoms not unlike those seen in routine seasonal human flu cases. All eight have recovered and the strain is susceptible to oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and zanamivir (Relenza). The seasonal vaccine being used this year in the US protects against human H1N1, but will most likely not protect people from the swine strain of H1N1 that we are seeing now.

This particular genetic combination of swine influenza virus has not been recognized before in the United States or anywhere else worldwide. The viruses contain genetic pieces from four different virus sources: North American swine influenza viruses, North American avian influenza viruses, human influenza viruses and swine influenza viruses found in Asia and Europe.

In Mexico, the Minister of Health today confirmed that they also have cases of swine influenza in people, and that they believe some of the people who were infected died from swine influenza. WHO is reporting more than 800 cases and 59 deaths in several areas of Mexico, mostly in Mexico City.

HHS has been reporting information on the U.S. cases to WHO per the International Health Regulations (IHR), an international agreement that countries have ratified. The Department also has routinely briefed DHS and White House officials on our progress in the investigation, and we have been in regular contact with all of our Federal partners who support our public health and medical response responsibilities in a public health emergency.

NIH is working closely with Mexico and Canada, and are coordinating with health officials in those countries as well as with the World Health Organization in Geneva and the Pan American Health Organization in Washington.

This weekend, the WHO Emergency [Council} Committee will meet to discuss potential recommendations for the WHO Director General. Those recommendations could include:

  1. Whether to declare the swine flu outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern as defined by the IHR and/or
  2. whether to change the WHO Pandemic Alert System from Phase 3 to Phase 4.

Either of these actions will likely trigger further media interest. CDC will be holding media briefings throughout the weekend.

As a precautionary step, the CDC is working to develop a vaccine seed strain specific to these recent swine influenza viruses in humans. This is also something we often initiate when we encounter a new influenza virus that has the potential to cause significant human illness.

At this time, there are no CDC recommendations for U.S. travelers to change, restrict or alter travel plans to Texas, California or Mexico. Our standard recommendations remain in place: cover your cough or sneeze, wash your hands frequently, and see your doctor if you have fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people have reported diarrhea and vomiting associated with swine flu.

Finally, it is worth noting that swine influenza viruses are not transmitted by food. You cannot get swine influenza from eating pork products.

The CDC has a web page with basic information about swine flu that we are updating as the situation evolves. The Website URL is .
Key Points – Swine Flu

  • *The White House, HHS, and DHS are monitoring this situation and are working in coordination with local, state and international public health agencies to gather information and keep lines of communication open.
  • *Public health officials have increased monitoring and surveillance efforts both here in the US and in Mexico. They are encouraging people to contact their public health office and their physician if they think they may be exposed.
  • *The Centers for Disease Control are posting all the latest information about what is happening here in the US and Mexico with the swine flu and you can log on to their website
  • *Here in the US there have been eight cases reported in California and Texas and no fatalities. All the victims have recovered.
  • *More information about what you can do to protect yourself against swine flu and any flu can also be found on the CDC website.
posted on Sun, 04/26/2009 - 11:58am
ARTiFactor's picture
ARTiFactor says:

I fear this swine flu is going to develop into a major story so I turned it into a regular post. Click the link below for more infomation.
Swine flu spread puts World on alert.

posted on Sun, 04/26/2009 - 2:00pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous says:

It is new and the media runs with it. The scare is caused by them. Still many more people are ill or die from things like AIDS or Malaria! Is a flu called Russian flu the same or related-as it is referred to as h1n1 as well? Will we get a Science Buzz poster on it?

posted on Thu, 04/30/2009 - 5:38pm

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