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Apr 26th, 2009

New U.S. Swine Flu Cases Spread Pandemic Fears

Afternoon update

U.S. Declares Swine Flu Public Health Emergency

Image: Pigs

Government officials have declared a public health emergency in connection with the swine flu outbreak that has killed dozens in Mexico and sickened 20 in the U.S., said the nation’s director of Homeland Security Sunday.

Secretary Janet Napolitano also said border agents have been directed to begin passive surveillance of travelers from affected countries, with instructions to isolate anyone who appears actively ill with suspected influenza.

The number of cases confirmed in the United States by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now 20, including eight New York City high school students. Other cases are in Ohio, California, Texas and Kansas. Patients have ranged in age from 7 to 54.

Government health officials expect to see more cases of swine flu here, including possibly serious infections, a senior CDC official said.

“We expect there to be a broader spectrum of disease here in the U.S.,” said Dr. Anne Schuchat, interim deputy director for the agencys Science and Public Health Program. “I do fear that we will have deaths here.”

Napolitano said the emergency declaration is a warning, not a notice of imminent danger, similar to preparing for a hurricane. …

CDC officials said they don’t yet have basic information about how the virus spreads, including how many cases each primary case might create, or how long it might take for them to be infected. However, agency officials believe the virus is spreading person-to-person. In the U.S., all the patients have recovered and only one patient was hospitalized. …

The incubation period for the virus is 24 to 48 hours, health officials said. President Barack Obama recently traveled to Mexico but the presidents health was never in any danger, said John Brennan, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security. …

“The government cant solve this alone; we need everybody to take some responsibility,” Napolitano said.

[Dr. Richard Besser, acting director of the CDC] urged Americans to practice frequent handwashing and to stay home if they feel sick. “If your children are sick, have a fever and flu-like illness, they shouldn’t go to school.”

Schuchat said symptoms that would trigger alarm include high fever, cough, sore throat, muscle aches, vomiting and diarrhea. But she cautioned those could also be signs of any number of respiratory diseases. …

U.S. to screen travelers at borders

The U.S. will begin screening travelers at the nations borders and isolating people who are actively ill with suspected influenza, Napolitano said. No travel restrictions are issued currently, but that could change, she said. …

Health officials said the facts of the outbreak don’t yet warrant testing or quarantine of travelers from Mexico, but that that could change if the situation gets worse.

Anne Schuchat reiterated that the outbreak can’t be contained.

“We cannot stop this at the border,” she said, adding: “But we think there’s a lot we can do to limit the impact on health and to slow transmission. …

Officials said Sunday they are considering whether to begin manufacture of a vaccine.

“At this point, there is not a vaccine for this swine flu strain, Besser said.

Deaths in Mexico

Symptoms in the eight newly-confirmed cases in New York have been mild, said Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden. City health officials said more than 100 students at the St. Francis Preparatory School, in Queens, recently began suffering a fever, sore throat and aches and pains. Some of their relatives also have been ill.

Some St. Francis students had recently traveled to Mexico, The New York Times and New York Post reported Sunday.

The World Health Organization chief said Saturday that the strain has “pandemic potential,” and it might be too late to contain a sudden outbreak.

Monitoring possible cases

State infectious-diseases, epidemiology and disaster preparedness workers have been dispatched to monitor and respond to possible cases of the flu. Gov. David Paterson said 1,500 treatment courses of the antiviral Tamiflu had been sent to New York City. …

No immunity

Swine flu is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A flu viruses, the CDC’s Web site says. Human cases are uncommon but can occur in people who are around pigs. It also can be spread from person to person.

Health officials are concerned because people appear to have no immunity to the virus, a combination of bird, swine and human influenzas. …

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


Click here for the latest news on the swine flu outbreak

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Swine Flu Widget


4/28/09 Update

Bachmann Links Swine Flu To Democrats, Gets History Wrong

By Rachel Weiner
The Huffington Post
April 28, 2009

Minnesota Republican Rep. Michele Bachmann, following Rush Limbaugh’s cue, suggested on Tuesday that President Obama was to blame for the swine flu crisis. She went even farther than the talk show host, implying that swine flu epidemics are a Democratic phenomenon that dates back to President Carter.

“I find it interesting that it was back in the 1970s that the swine flu broke out then under another Democrat president Jimmy Carter. And I’m not blaming this on President Obama, I just think it’s an interesting coincidence.”

Unfortunately, Bachmann’s facts are a little off. As Glenn Thrush notes, Republican President Gerald Ford, not Carter, led the country during the last outbreak of the virus.

Related reports

Bachmann: Its ‘interesting’ that the last swine flu outbreak also occurred under a ‘Democrat president’

Bachmann: ‘Interesting coincidence’ that Dems in power during swine flu outbreak

Bachmann: Dem connection to outbreak ‘interesting’


Nonpartisan site tracking claims by Rep. Bachmann:

The Bachmann File

In the 1970s, “the swine flu broke out . . . under another Democrat, President Jimmy Carter.”

Pants on Fire!
Swine flu isn’t blue


4/29/09 Update

Swine Flu Alert Raised to Level 5

Swine Flu Alert Raised to Level 5 // People wear surgical masks, Mexico City (© Claudia Daut/Reuters)

Global outbreak deemed ‘imminent’ 



U.S. Military Deaths in Iraq

As of Saturday, April 25, 2009, at least 4,275 members of the U.S. military had died in the Iraq war since it began in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count.

U.S. Troop Casualties in Iraq

Latest identifications:

Marine Cpl. William C. Comstock, 21, Van Buren, Ark., died April 22, 2009 as a result of a non-hostile incident in Anbar province, Iraq. He was assigned to 2nd Supply Battalion, Combat Logistics Regiment 25, 2nd Marine Logistics Group, II Marine Expeditionary Force, Camp Lejeune, N.C.

Army Cpl. Brad A. Davis, 21, Garfield Heights, Ohio, died April 22, 2009 near Baghdad, Iraq, of wounds sustained when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle. He was assigned to the 82nd Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, Fort Bragg, N.C.


Remember Their Sacrifice

Remember Their Sacrifice

Related links

Iraq Casualties

Afghanistan Casualties

Honor the Fallen

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Visit Military Times — The top source for military news


Security Developments in Iraq

Following are security developments in Iraq on Saturday, April 25, 2009, as reported by Reuters.

KIRKUK- A U.S. soldier died from injuries sustained in an attack on a patrol, the U.S. military said, giving no details.

BALAD – Seven Shi’ite pilgrims were wounded when gunmen opened fire at their minibus near Balad, 50 miles north of Baghdad, while they were traveling to Samarra, police said.

MOSUL – Two soldiers were killed when gunmen attacked their checkpoint in eastern Mosul, 240 miles north of Baghdad, police said.

MOSUL – An off-duty policeman was killed when gunmen attacked him in central Mosul, police said.

MOSUL – Gunmen attacked and killed an off-duty policeman when they stormed his house in eastern Mosul, police said.

Following are security developments in Iraq on Friday, April 24, 2009, as reported by Reuters.

BAGHDAD – A bomb attached to a vehicle killed a police major in the Saidiya neighborhood of southern Baghdad, police said. Three civilians were wounded.

BAGHDAD – At least 60 people were killed and 125 were wounded in twin suicide attacks at a revered Shi’ite mosque in Baghdad’s Kadhimiya neighborhood, police said.

JALAWLA – A suicide car bomber killed one person and wounded 26 others, six of them policemen, in Jalawla, 70 miles northeast of Baghdad, police said.

MOSUL – A roadside bomb targeting an Iraqi Army patrol killed one soldier and wounded one civilian southeast of Mosul, 240 miles north of Baghdad, police said.

SINJAR – The son of a local sheikh was killed by a bomb attached to his vehicle in Sinjar, 240 miles northwest of Baghdad, police said.

KIRKUK – A police major was shot and killed on Thursday in front of his home in central Kirkuk, 155 miles north of Baghdad, police said.


Major Attacks in Iraq Since Jan. 1, 2009

April 24, 2009

Major attacks in Iraq since Jan. 1, when a new U.S.-Iraqi security pact took effect:

  • April 24, 2009 — Back-to-back suicide bombers strike near Shiite shrine in Baghdad, killing 60.
  • April 23, 2009 — Baghdad suicide bomber hits Iraqis collecting humanitarian aid, killing 31.
  • April 23, 2009 — Suicide bomber strikes restaurant north of Baghdad in Muqdadiyah, killing 57.
  • April 6, 2009 — Series of bombings within four hours in Baghdad kill 37 people.
  • March 26, 2009 — Car bomb tears through market in Shiite area in east Baghdad, killing 20.
  • March 23, 2009 — Suicide bomber strikes Kurdish funeral north of Baghdad in Jalula, killing 27.
  • March 10, 2009 — Suicide bomber targets tribal leaders at market in Abu Ghraib, killing 33.
  • March 8, 2009 — Suicide bomber strikes police academy in Baghdad, killing at least 30.
  • March 5, 2009 — Car bomb tears through livestock market in Hillah, killing 13.
  • Feb. 13, 2009 — Female suicide bomber targets Shiite pilgrims in Musayyib, killing 40.
  • Feb. 11, 2009 — Twin car bombs explode at a bus terminal and market area in Baghdad, killing 16.
  • Jan. 4, 2009 — Female suicide bomber strikes Shiite pilgrims in Baghdad, killing 38.
  • Jan. 2, 2009 — Suicide bomber hits luncheon at a tribal leader’s home in Youssifiyah, killing 23.

3 Responses to “Flu Pandemic Fear Spreads in U.S.”
  1. Immelman for Congress » Blog Archive » Iraq Election Turmoil Says:

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