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Situation Update No. 1
On 26.04.2009 at 06:06 GMT+2
Two cases of mild swine flu were confirmed Saturday in a married couple in Dickinson County after the man returned recently from Mexico, the state's health officer said. Jason Eberhart-Phillips said the man traveled to Mexico via Wichita on April 16 and spent four days there for a business conference, becoming ill after he returned home. His wife became ill a few days later. The cases bring to 11 the number of confirmed swine flu cases nationwide. Eberhart-Phillips said state officials are trying to find out how many people traveled with the man to Mexico and how many people have had contact with the couple. The new flu has killed as many as 68 people in Mexico.
"Fortunately, the man and woman understand the gravity of the situation and are very willing to isolate themselves," Eberhart-Phillips said during a news conference. "I would characterize their illness as mild." He declined to identify or give detailed information about the victims, saying the state wants to protect their privacy. However, state officials said both worked in neighboring Saline County. The World Health Organization has said the new flu has the potential to become a global epidemic, and it may have sickened more than 1,000 people in Mexico. The federal Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta have confirmed 11 mild cases in California, Kansas and Texas, and New York City officials say they have eight "probable" cases. Officials are worried because people appear to have no immunity to the virus, a combination of bird, swine and human influenza. Also, Eberhart-Phillips said, it presents itself like other swine flus, but none of the U.S. cases appears to involve direct contact with pigs. Underscoring Kansas officials' concerns, Maj. Gen. Tod Bunting, the state adjutant, attended Eberhart-Phillips' news conference. Bunting acknowledged that communication between his department and other agencies would represent a first step in executing an emergency preparedness plan for dealing with a pandemic. Eberhart-Phillips called the swine flu strain "a completely novel virus." "It appears to be able to transmit easily between humans," Eberhart-Phillips said. "It's something that could potentially become very big, and we're only seeing, potentially, the very beginning of a widespread outbreak.
" State officials said the man flew to Mexico from Wichita and that his doctor was suspicious about his illness. Kansas Department of Health and Environment labs tested nasal swabs from both victims at its Topeka area lab. Eberhart-Phillips said the testing was inconclusive, except to show that the victims didn't have an ordinary strain of flu. Their samples were then flown -- using the governor's state plane -- to the CDC in Atlanta before dawn Saturday. The CDC then confirmed their cases as the new swine flu. Jenni McCausland, communications coordinator for Sedgwick County, said the virus would not have survived so many days after the man traveled. "There's no recommendation from the (Sedgwick County) Medical Society here or medical professionals that anything needs to be done special at the airport," she said. Sedgwick County has no suspected or confirmed cases of swine flu, she said. KDHE officials said symptoms of the flu include a fever of more than 100 degrees, body aches, coughing, a sore throat, respiratory congestion and, in some cases, vomiting and diarrhea.
He said people should watch for such symptoms especially if they've traveled to Mexico recently or had contact with people who have. "Over time, if this is something that is ongoing and spreading through the community, outside of our ability to contain it, then we'll have to consider other measures," he said. "But for the time being, we're just asking that people isolate themselves and consult with their health care provider if they feel they may have been exposed and may have this illness."
Originally posted by sickofitall2012
I don't understand why the WHO won't raise to a Phases 4. Clearly, people all over the globe are not immune to this strain. Who cares if they aren't dying like those in Mexico, the flu can kill any time, anyone, any where. Not to mention that the more it spreads in humans, the higher the chance of another mutation.
WHO states that Phases 3 is
"an animal or human-animal influenza reassortant virus has caused sporadic cases or small clusters of disease in people, but has not resulted in human-to-human transmission sufficient to sustain community-level outbreaks. Limited human-to-human transmission may occur under some circumstances, for example, when there is close contact between an infected person and an unprotected caregiver. However, limited transmission under such restricted circumstances does not indicate that the virus has gained the level of transmissibility among humans necessary to cause a pandemic."
Phase 4 is
"is characterized by verified human-to-human transmission of an animal or human-animal influenza reassortant virus able to cause “community-level outbreaks.” The ability to cause sustained disease outbreaks in a community marks a significant upwards shift in the risk for a pandemic. Any country that suspects or has verified such an event should urgently consult with WHO so that the situation can be jointly assessed and a decision made by the affected country if implementation of a rapid pandemic containment operation is warranted. Phase 4 indicates a significant increase in risk of a pandemic but does not necessarily mean that a pandemic is a forgone conclusion. "
There is definitely human to human transmission and Mexico clearly has a sustained "community outbreak."
[edit on 26-4-2009 by sickofitall2012]
Besser said the CDC has confirmed one case of swine flu in Ohio, two in Kansas and eight in New York. There were already seven confirmed cases in California and two in Texas. Officials emphasized that the U.S. cases are not as severe as the cases that have been identified in Mexico.