Today is a day of mourning and seriousness, as the Mexican Swine Flu (H1N1) has now claimed the life of one American. A child in Texas was the first fatality from the swine flu in the US, as confirmed by Dr. Richard Besser of the Centers for Disease Control.
The CDS’s Dr. Besser reported, “I can confirm the very sad news out of Texas that a child has died of the H1N1 virus.”
“As a parent and a pediatrician, my heart goes out to the family.”
The child was a little under two years old.
Only days ago, the official count for the number of Americans infected by H1N1 swine flu was an unconfirmed 11. Today that number has immediately increased to 64, six of who are in Texas.
Many people who recently returned from Mexico seem to have a case of this flu, and are spreading it to their friends and families, which is resulting in a gradual spread of this virus.
Dr. Besser, however, urges people not to panic but rather keep a close watch of news and recommendations from the CDC.
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- Related Video: Health Officials Believe ‘Patient Zero’ Found In Mexico, Edgar Hernandez
“I expect we’ll see more cases,” Dr. Besser told us in interview. He continued, “And as we do, we’ll learn more about this, and if there needs to be more stringent or less stringent recommendations, we’ll be making those.”
Despite these words, Besser admits things may get far worse here in the US.
“Given what we’ve seen in Mexico, we have expected that we would see more severe infections and would see deaths,” Besser said.
Scientists Confirm Virus is Mexican Origin
Performing quick assay and data collection, health officials believe they have found ‘patient zero’ in this deadly outbreak that has spanned four continents and outside of Mexico and the US, has claimed 112 victims across four continents. Within Mexico itself, 1,500 infected and nearly 10% dead from the virus.
Officials believe the patient zero is a 5 year-old Mexican boy named Edgar Hernandez, from a rural mountain village in Mexico.
Edgar is the earliest person to have tested positive for having H1N1 and have his case documented. Edgar managed to survive his case of the swine flu.
Edgar Hernandez’s village is a mountain town named La Gloria, in the Mexican state of Veracruz. On April 2nd, Mexican health officials made note of flu outbreak that quickly spread across the 3,000 person village.
Reports show that every other sick person in the village had a normal case of flu; Edgar had a particularly ‘peculiar’ strain that Mexican health officials at first were not too concerned about.
Only after the same strain started popping up around the country a few days later, did health officials immediately return and also pull up Edgar’s sample. This virus had started to quickly spread from one person, was causing deaths and set health officials into action.
Mexican Health Secretary Jose Cordova reports, “In this case, there’s a patient who turned out to be positive for the swine flu virus, with the exception that at that time in no region of the world it had been established as an etiological, epidemic cause.”
Protecting Yourself and Aftermath
The World Health Organization is collecting data on the spread of this flu and official counts, as to determine appropriate course of action.
Worldwide people are already stocking up on surgical masks, liquid foods and drinks and over-the-counter medicines in case the worst happens.
Health officials in the United States have approved the release of Tamiflu and Relenza, two powerful antiviral medications. There is a misconception that antibiotics may be used in treating viral infections, and it should be noted that antibiotics are intended to assist the body in breaking down non-resistant bacterial cells.
The WHO confirmed as of time of report, the following countries do have confirmed cases of H1N1. There is a connection between direct travel and return to Mexico for each of these nations: United States, Canada, Spain, Israel, Japan, the United Kingdom, Costa Rica and Germany.
Mexico has updated its count of confirmed positive infections to 2,500 and has not updated its death count from 159 individuals.
Other nations are now taking precautions to prevent the spread of swine flu. Mexico itself has banned non-essential public events and people are wearing masks in public.
Many governments are banning travel to Mexico and several nations are testing the temperature of each person who is arriving from Mexico via sophisticated heat scanning devices. US President Barack Hussein Obama told Americans to only travel to Mexico right now if ‘absolutely necessary’.
China and Russia have banned all imported pork from Western hemisphere nations, a move which indicates an errant thought about how this virus can quickly spread and kill humans.
As the name indicates, the swine flu is a respiratory virus that is usually transmitted from pig-to-pig. The virus, albeit rarely, can transfer from animal-to-human.
If this virus mutates and is spread to another human, which may be the case with this strain of H1N1, the results can be disastrous.
Virulence levels of this particular strain are a bit elevated from common flus and its quick spread is deadly because people have no natural immunity. Vaccinations can only be provided after a new strain is discovered, and it takes several months to develop a sufficient suite of vaccine.
In that amount of time, tens of thousands of people or more could easily die. Fortunately, this virus has not yet made a key mutation to cause a global pandemic.
Symptoms of H1N1 include diarrhea, sore throat, runny nose, fever and vomiting. Basically, it will feel just like any other case of flu a person has contracted during their life.
Each year, normal strains of flu kill 300,000 to 500,000 people worldwide. While the numbers from this one Mexican origin H1N1 strain have thankfully not reached those numbers, its death rate is significantly higher than common strains of flu.
Health officials report that this is because there is no vaccination for this ‘new’ type of flu and that people do not have a natural immunity to it. Without non-commonly released antiviral medications like Tamiflu, a person is left to their own immune system and health to battle this infection.
Tamiflu and associated drugs are typically released on an age basis and are not available to the general public, outside of cases of severe influenza compromise coupled with pregnancy, chemotherapy or other potentially debilitating health diseasses.
This is to lower potential for viruses that are resistant to antiviral medications from taking form and spreading.
In preparation for this virus mutating and spreading quickly through the US population, the federal government has started to prepare the national stockpile of Tamiflu (12 million units) for distribution to any state that declares a medical emergency and has medical need for the antiviral measure.