Sunday, April 26, 2009

Swine Flu in Juarez

It hit like lightning. Only one case of (suspected) swine flu has been reported in Juarez so far, but health officials are taking no chances with this disease which began in Mexico and threatens to expand globally into a pandemic. In Mexico City schools, libraries, museums, and theaters have been closed to try to contain the epidemic, which appears to be far deadlier than most flu viruses. At least 81 persons in Mexico City have died from complications in this new disease, and at least 1300 have come down with flu-like symptoms confirmed as swine flu, a unique variety combining genetic material from humans, birds, and pigs.

Flu vaccines, which were not designed for this new strain, ran out yesterday in drug stores in Juarez. At the airport workers are told to don face masks when flights come in from Mexico City, a major vector for the disease. In the Monterrey airport, workers are questioning passengers about symptoms, escorting those with flu-like symptoms to hospitals to avoid further possible contamination. This has not yet been implemented in Juarez. In the Mexico City airport health officials are questioning each passenger and do not allow those with flu-like symptoms to board planes.

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