Mexican Swine Flu Epidemic Has “Pandemic Potential”

Update 4/29/09
Stay informed through reliable sources:
Center for Disease Control – This is the swine flu website from the Centers for Disease Control. It gives the latest on the situation along with the above tips and other prevention information.
This is the website of the Greensboro Emergency Management Department.  Using information from the Centers for Disease Control and other sources, it will keep you up-to-date on the outbreak. 
Guilford County Department of Public Health

World Health Organization (WHO) and Center for Disease Control (CDC) officials are expressing worry over a new flu strain which has already sickened more than 1,000 people across Mexico and spread into California and Texas at an alarming pace.  It is believed as many as 68 people have thus far died.

Margaret Chan, head of the WHO, says the virus — a previously unknown combination of human, pig, and bird strains — has “pandemic potential.”   In Mexico City, schools are closed and hundreds of events have been cancelled.

World health officials are of course acutely aware of past flu pandemics, such as those of 1918, 1957, and 1968.  The 1918/1919 event, which came in the aftermath of World War I, is believed to have killed between 50 and 100 million people worldwide and infected approximately 1/3 of the world’s population. 

If you would like to read more about influenza and flu pandemics of the past, the Greensboro Public Library has the following:  Bird Flu:  Everything You Need to Know About the Next Pandemic by Marc Siegel; Killer Flu (DVD); Plagues & Poxes:  The Impact of Human History on Epidemic Disease by Alfred Jay Bollet; Secret Agents:  The Menace of Emerging Infections by Madeline Drexler; Flu:  The Story of the Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918 and the Search for the Virus That Caused It by Gina Kolata; The Great Influenza:  The Epic Story of the Deadliest Plague in History by John M. Barry; Purple Death:  The Mysterious Flu of 1918 by David Getz (juvenile); Influenza 1918 (DVD); Bird Flu:  How Safe Are We? (DVD); China Syndrome:  The True Story of the 21st Century’s First Great Epidemic by Karl Taro Greenfeld; The Monster at Our Door:  The Global Threat of Avian Flu by Mike Davis; The Germ Freak’s Guide to Outwitting Colds and Flu:  Guerilla Tactics to Keep Yourself Healthy at Home, at Work, and in the World by Allison Janse with Charles Gerba; and Influenza:  The Next Pandemic? by Connie Goldsmith (juvenile).


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