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First case of UK human to human swine flu
Human-to-human transmission of swine flu has been confirmed in the United States, Canada, Spain and Germany.
“How life-threatening are the infections?” someone asked.
“We don’t know the answer,” Atmar replied. The Mexican statistics were unreliable. And so far, in the U.S., there were too few cases to draw any firm conclusion.
He noted that of 91 confirmed cases Thursday, there had been one death — meaning so far in the U.S., the virus had killed more than 1 percent of the people it was known to infect.
To a layman, that seems a small number. But to Atmar, 1 percent is alarming. The 1957 and 1968 pandemics killed an estimated 0.1 percent of the people they infected. The 1918 one — the scariest one of all — killed somewhere between 1.5 and 2.5 percent.
“If it’s 1 percent,” Atmar said, “that’s potentially 1918. But it’s too soon to tell.”
On Friday, after what I took to be a day of comforting flu news, I called to see if Atmar had relaxed any.
He hadn’t. He cautioned me not to write off this flu: “It’s too early to call.” He noted that the numbers of people infected were still rising, and that the public labs are overwhelmed.
Originally posted by infinite
All our outlets for covering this store are being muted. Veratect, as I just posted, will only report confirmed US cases
Nothing from Europe, Asia/Pacific, Latin America or Africa.
Canadian doctor in the hot zone
A Canadian doctor living at the heart of the influenza outbreak in Mexico has been working 14-hour days treating nervous patients, two of whom tested positive for the H1N1 flu.
For the past two weeks, Dr. Michael Haney, 34, of Montreal has been working alongside his doctor-wife at a private clinic in Mexico City from 7 a. m. to 9 p. m., mostly reassuring frightened parents with sniffling kids they'll be fine, he said.
"We're seeing a lot of children come into the office but it's just a little cold," Haney told Sun Media by phone from Mexico City. "People are scared more than anything else."
Among the hundreds of patients he's seen, Haney has treated two young males for the H1N1 flu: One a 16-year-old who exhibited mild symptoms, and the other a 24-year-old man who was a more serious case with a runny nose, heavy chest pains and trouble breathing.
"But we caught them in time and they're recovering now," he said.
Haney has his own theory on why the flu is striking young, healthy adults: The classic sense of adolescent invincibility.
"These young men tend to rebel and don't wear face masks, you see it all the time by the metro over here," he said. "They just continue about their lives, hanging out with friends. It's more rebellious neglect, as if nothing can touch them."
Likewise, Haney and his colleagues are seeing more families from the outskirts of the city, he said, who had previously been treating themselves with their "grandmother's medicine" or homemade plant and herbal remedies.
Meanwhile, people scrambling to find masks and hand sanitizers. At the clinic, he's safeguarded the only two masks that are left -- one for himself and one for his wife.
"We've called all our suppliers and they're completely sold out."
A wild rumour circulating in the city is also prompting people to snatch up eye goggles in the misguided belief that eye gear will protect them, he said.
"People are calm but they're just trying to get their hands on whatever they can ...But if it makes people feel better, it will help them get through their day."
While the rest of the world seems to be whipped up in a frenzy, Haney said the panic in has started to subside.
"We've started to quiet down. You can see that people are more calm and relaxed."
For example, despite the flu outbreak, the resort town and weekend destination for Mexico City locals, Acapulco, is booked solid, he said.
But Haney won't be partaking in any off-time revelry, even though it's his birthday today.
He'll be working all day at the clinic before joining his four-year-old son who is staying with his in-laws while both parents work exhausting shifts.
New Jersey 7
New York 50
South Carolina 13
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WHO still believes flu pandemic is imminent
GENEVA, May 2 (Reuters) - There has not yet been a sustained spread of H1N1 flu outside North America but a pandemic is still "imminent", a World Health Organisation official said on Saturday.
Michael Ryan, WHO Director of Global Alert and Response, said it remained probable that the alert level would be raised from its current level of 5 to the top of the 6-stage scale.
"We have no evidence of sustained community spread outside of North America," he told a news briefing at the U.N. agency's Geneva .quarters. "We are still at Phase 5.
"At the present time I would still propose that a pandemic is imminent, because we are seeing the disease spread," Ryan said. "At this point we have to expect that phase 6 will be reached, we have to hope that it is not reached."
Minais Gerais just declared state of emergency, news is reporting. I think this is the first state in Brazil to declare state of emergency. They are announcing that they will buy 6 million masks. No cases confirmed yet, a few suspects only
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Hospitals swamped amid flu fears
Reporting from Washington -- On Long Island, N.Y., hospitals are scrambling to bring extra workers in to handle a 50% surge in visitors to emergency rooms. In Galveston, Texas, the local hospital ran out of flu testing kits after being overwhelmed with patients worried about having contracted swine flu.
At Loma Linda University Medical Center near San Bernardino, emergency room workers have set up a tent in the parking lot to handle a crush of similar patients. In Chicago, ER visits at the city's biggest children's hospital are double normal levels, setting records at the 121-year-old institution.
So far, few of the anxious patients have had more than runny noses. But the widening outbreak of swine flu, also known as H1N1 flu, is exposing a potentially critical hole in the nation's defenses.
Across the country, emergency care facilities are straining at the seams even though the outbreak is relatively small and the federal government has launched a mammoth disease-control effort -- dispatching antiviral drugs to states, attempting to contain the limited number of cases and beginning to develop a vaccine against it.
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FACTBOX: Measures in North, South America against flu
Sat May 2, 2009 12:50pm EDT
(Reuters) - Governments across North and South America have taken measures to avert a pandemic as the new swine flu virus spreads from Mexico, where up to 176 people have died.
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Four new probable swine flu cases in Michigan
The state health department has identified four more probable cases of swine flu in Michigan, bringing the total of people who may have contracted the illness to 20.
State officials said Saturday the cases are probably Influenza A (H1N1), but that tests by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have not been completed to know for sure.
Three of the new cases, commonly referred to as swine flu, were reported in Kent County and one in Muskegon County, according to a press release.
The previously reported probable cases were in Macomb County (two), Hillsdale County (one), Kent County ( three), and Ottawa County (10), according to the Michigan Department of Community Health.
In addition, two cases of swine flu have been confirmed, one each in Livingston and Ottawa counties, according to the state.