SWINE FLU UPDATE – April 29, 2009

Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, Spain, Britain and Germany are reporting cases of Swine Flu.  Sadly, the United States reported its first death as a result of the illness, a 23-month old toddler from Mexico City.  She had traveled from Mexico to Brownsville, Texas, became ill, and died Monday night in a Houston hospital.  Doctors theorize that Mexico has had more deaths from this type of flu because it has been circulating among its citizens longer.

We must realize that deaths from influenza are not uncommon.  In the United States alone, 36,000 persons die per year from flu-related illnesses.  The concern regarding this new strain, which combines pig, bird, and human viruses is that persons may have limited immunity to it.

Medical and scientific teams are working steadfastly to develop a new vaccine, but it is going to take time to produce initial shots for human safety testing.

At this time, things are very unpredictable.  The last thing we need to do is panic.  The media constantly reports numbers of cases worldwide; however, many of those are suspected cases, and not confirmed ones.  Testing must be done at certain laboratories to actually confirm the type of flu the person has.

So, use common sense.  The advice given by professionals is to wash hands frequently; stay out of crowds as much as possible.  Cover your face when you cough or sneeze, and if you feel you are getting flu-like symptoms, see your physician.  If you become sick, stay at home.  We all must do our part to curb the threat of a potentially serious health problem.