Pattaya Daily News

29 April 2009 :: 18:04:03 pm 38074

Swine Flu Continues to Take Its Toll

As governments world-wide rush to implement further safety measures to guard against the continued transmission of the swine flu virus, the infection rate is rising daily with the current figures being 159 deaths and roughly 2,500 illnesses, of whom 1,300 people were in hospitals in Mexico. In addition, the genetic nature of the virus has been found to be far more complex than first thought.
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The CDC has confirmed that U.S. cases were discovered to be made up of genetic elements from four different flu viruses North American swine influenza, North American avian influenza, human influenza, and swine influenza virus typically found in Asia and Europe. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 249 cases have been confirmed globally, including 65 in the United States; 172 in Mexico; thirteen in Canada; three in New Zealand; and two each in Spain, the United Kingdom, Israel and Costa Rico and one in Germany.

The United Nations, WHO and the U.S. CDC are apparently seriously concerned about the situation, as it has the potential to become a flu pandemic due to the novelty of the influenza strain, its transmission from human to human, and the unusually high mortality rate in Mexico. The WHO said on Tuesday the current outbreak of swine flu could lead to only a mild pandemic but warned the 1918 flu pandemic, which killed tens of millions, started in the same way.

Mr. Keiji Fukuda, Assistant Director-General of the WHO, warned that “In this age of global travel, where people move around in airplanes so quickly, there is no region to which this virus could not spread,? he was also reported as saying “I think we have to be mindful and respectful of the fact that influenza moves in ways we cannot predict?. However, President Barack Obama said the outbreak was a cause for concern, not for alarm.

On Monday, April 27, the WHO upped its alert level from 3 to 4. Below, you can see what these alert levels actually mean.

 

WHO ALERT LEVELS

In Phase 1 no viruses among animals reported to have caused infections in humans.

In Phase 2 animal flu virus is known to have caused infection in humans and is potential pandemic threat.

In Phase 3, animal or human-animal flu virus has caused small number of cases in people, but not sufficient for community-level outbreaks.

Phase 4 is characterized by verified human-to-human transmission of animal or human-animal flu virus, indicating greater but not inevitable risk of pandemic.

Phase 5 means human-to-human spread of virus is confirmed in two countries in one WHO region and pandemic is feared imminent.

Phase 6 characterized by community-level outbreaks in at least one other country in second WHO region. This phase indicates global pandemic is under way.

So far, the various world governments have taken various precautionary measures, these include the banning of pork imports from the United States and Mexico by China and Russia, and the installation of thermographic devices at airports in Thailand, Indonesia and Japan, which has already started the mass distribution of face masks. Various governments have also recommended that their citizens avoid travelling to Mexico, including the US, while the Philippines’ Health Department has recommended that its people stop kissing and hugging in public.

Argentina is the only nation that has taken the stringent step of banning airline flights from Mexico, for 5 days, initially, but cruise lines are also concerned, four of them, Holland America, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian and Princess, have announced they will not be putting in to Mexican ports. Financial markets worldwide have also taken a plunge due to fears about the flu.

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Dual lab tests confirm no swine flu in Thai woman

BANGKOK, April 29  Two laboratory test results on Wednesday confirmed that a Thai woman quarantined in a Bangkok hospital is free from swine flu.
The 42-year-old woman was quarantined at Chulalongkorn Hospital on Tuesday after she had returned from Mexico, California and Singapore with a high fever.
Permanent Secretary for Public Health Prat Boonyawongviroj on Tuesday revealed the first laboratory test result conducted by Chulalongkorn Hospital was negative.

Dr. Yong Poovarawan, a virus specialist from the Chulalongkorn University Faculty of Medical Sciences on Wednesday also confirmed that the two lab tests carried out by the faculty found no indication of any swine flu strain in the woman despite earlier suspicions.

Dr. Yong said that the tests were conducted using different process but gave the same results, which is negative. The woman is suffering an ordinary flu.

The patient is allowed to go home after the three lab tests showed the same negative results.

Despite no swine flu being found in Thailand, screening measures at Suvarnabhumi Airport have been stepped up both to prevent any entry of the virus and to allay concerns regarding the swine flu outbreak in the kingdom.

Public Health Deputy Minister Manit Nopamornbodhi said that thermal scanners which have been installed to detect suspected swine flu arrivals at Suvarnabhumi Airport on Monday, are functioning well and airport users have been reassured regarding Thailand’s screening system.

The number of screening officials stationed at the airport will also be increased, said Mr. Manit, adding that all of them can communicate in foreign languages.

The public health deputy minister said that the ministry has invited tour operators to discuss on Thursday the possibility of helping the authorities screen tourists while they are still in the air, before landing.

Airline personnel can inform the concerned officials of suspected swine flu patients so that they will be immediately sent to hospital for symptoms assessment. (TNA)

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : Internet   Category : Thailand News

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