Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Swine Flu 2009 on World Tour

"Swine flu's ground zero? Residents say nearby farm"
The Associated Press (April 28, 2009)

"LA GLORIA, Mexico (AP) — Residents in this community of 3,000 believe their town is ground zero for the swine flu epidemic, even if health officials aren't saying so.

"More than 450 residents say they're suffering from respiratory problems from contamination spread by pig waste at nearby breeding farms co-owned by a U.S. company. Officials with the company say they've found no sign of swine flu on its farms, and Mexican authorities haven't determined the outbreak's origin...."

The Associated Press says the farms are owned by Granjas Carroll de Mexico, 50 percent owned by Virginia-based Smithfield Foods, Inc. - which says that it "...found no clinical signs or symptoms of the presence of swine influenza in its swine herd or its employees working at its joint ventures anywhere in Mexico...." (AP) Which may be true.

Meanwhile, people are starting to say that swine flu is the fault of [something they don't like]: The objection to factory farms seems to be that they raise more pigs than farms did back in the good old days. True enough. There are also more people around now than back when kerosene lamps were cutting edge technology.

I'll admit to a bias: I live in an area where quite a few of us raise pigs and cattle. And, we live in the 21st century: so yes, we've got [gasp of horror] "factory farms." They smell about as bad as the old-fashioned ones.

A more realistic approach than complaining about pork production keeping up with population might be to discuss the need for better quality control. But that's another topic.

WHO Raises Alert Level to Phase 4

The World Health Organization raised the alert level to 4: "Evidence of increased human-to-human transmission." (WHO alert levels, with links, at "Swine Flu 2009) There are cases in Spain (one), Israel (two) and Scotland (two). On the other hand, the number of new cases in Mexico is dropping. (Deadly Swine Flu Spreads to Mideast, AsiaFOX News) People in New Zealand and South Korea have swine flu, too. (LAT)

There's a chance, I think, that this swine flu outbreak will be stopped before too many more people die. We've been through this sort of thing before.

"...Governments in Asia — with memories of previous flu outbreaks — were especially cautious. Singapore, Thailand, Japan, Indonesia and the Philippines dusted off thermal scanners used in the 2003 SARS crisis and were checking for signs of fever among passengers from North America. South Korea, India and Indonesia also announced screening...." (FOX News)

Meanwhile, I've read that there's a newly-diagnosed case in Indiana. As I wrote before, I think it's just a matter of time before there are swine flu cases in my area, central Minnesota.

News and views: List of posts relating to Swine flu 2009; and list of background resources:

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