Swine Flu Epidemic: What it means

Articles
April 28, 2009

Swine Flu Epidemic: What it means

We Americans are being faced with more food safety issues each day. From the salmonella peanut catastrophe to pistachios, spinach, sprouts, growing concerns of mad cow disease, and now, the swine flu epidemic originating in Mexico. Mexico city has an estimated 20 million people, and reports are that the streets are quiet today as the swine flu continues to spread. Surgical masks are being handed out to residents, and the Centers for Disease Control is providing regular updates on the situation, with at least 20 cases confirmed in the U.S., though none fatal. With more than 1,500 cases of swine flu reported in Mexico, more than 100 deaths have been attributed to the disease. The swine flu is a virus that primarily infects pigs, and rarely humans. However, human infections can occur and sometimes from person to person. Just like regular influenza, the best way to protect against the swine variation is to cover nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, washing hands frequently and avoiding close contact with sick people. In the United States, confirmed cases of this new strain of swine flu have occurred primarily in a school in New York City where eight students could have brought the virus back after a trip to Mexico. There is so far no evidence that the sickness has spread beyond those students.

We Americans are being faced with more food safety issues each day. From the salmonella peanut catastrophe to pistachios, spinach, sprouts, growing concerns of mad cow disease, and now, the swine flu epidemic originating in Mexico.

Mexico city has an estimated 20 million people, and reports are that the streets are quiet today as the swine flu continues to spread. Surgical masks are being handed out to residents, and the Centers for Disease Control is providing regular updates on the situation, with at least 20 cases confirmed in the U.S., though none fatal. With more than 1,500 cases of swine flu reported in Mexico, more than 100 deaths have been attributed to the disease.

The swine flu is a virus that primarily infects pigs, and rarely humans. However, human infections can occur and sometimes from person to person. Just like regular influenza, the best way to protect against the swine variation is to cover nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing, washing hands frequently and avoiding close contact with sick people.

In the United States, confirmed cases of this new strain of swine flu have occurred primarily in a school in New York City where eight students could have brought the virus back after a trip to Mexico. There is so far no evidence that the sickness has spread beyond those students.

President Obama has warned Americans to not become alarmed saying, "If there was ever a day that reminded us of our shared stake in science and research, it's today," Obama said, "We are closely monitoring the emerging cases of swine flu in the United States. This is obviously a cause for concern and requires a heightened state of alert, but it is not a cause for alarm." The Department of Health and Human Services has declared a public health emergency as a precaution; and for up to date information you can visit the CDC’s webpage at http://www.cdc.gov/.