Swine Flu Updates

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Swine Flu Updates

Post by Stephanie on Sun May 03, 2009 7:48 am

Pigs in Canada Contract Flu Virus

By LAUREN ETTER
The U.S. Agriculture Department said late Saturday that swine in Canada have tested positive for the strain of H1N1 influenza that is circulating around the world and has already caused more than 100 deaths.

This is the first detection of the virus in hogs that up until now was considered to be circulating only from human to human.

According to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, a Canadian carpenter who had been to Mexico came down with flu syptoms upon his return home. He then did work on a hog farm in Alberta and subsequently his family and the swine fell ill, exhibiting influenza symptoms.

If the virus is indeed jumping from humans to animals and vice versa, as the Canadian case suggests, the seriousness of the disease will likely be heightened.

The development could cause new problems for the pork industry, which has so far gone to great lengths to distance itself from the current outbreak as it has hammered trade and consumer sentiment.

On Friday, the National Pork Producers Council, said "the flu virus...never has been found in pigs anywhere in the world.". As a result, the pork council "urged U.S. pork producers and others involved in the pork industry to address influenza outbreak misinformation, which already has exacerbated an economic crisis in the pork industry."

Last week, the pork lobby successfully persuaded the USDA and other international health agencies to stop referring to the virus as "swine flu".

As soon as Saturday morning Mr. Vilsack of the USDA and his counterparts in Mexico and Canada issued a joint statement urging its trading partners that there was no need to disrupt trade because "Canadian, American and Mexican authorities have emphasized that they have not found a case of influenza in swine herds."

In its announcement Saturday evening, the USDA said "this detection does not change the situation here in the United States" since there "have been no reports that the novel H1N1 strain currently causing illness in humans is in U.S. swine."
However the agency said that as a precaution people with "flu-like symptoms should not interact with swine, and swine showing influenza symptoms should be kept away from the public."

The USDA also said that no sick swine connected to the Alberta situation have left the farm and that the animals have been quarantined.

The Canadian government is awaiting final confirmatory test results and the USDA said it won't make any decisions on restricting trade with Canada until the test results come back.

Meantime the USDA said it is "actively working to develop an H1N1 vaccine for swine, just as the CDC is doing for humans."

Write to Lauren Etter at lauren.etter@wsj.com

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Re: Swine Flu Updates

Post by Stephanie on Sun May 03, 2009 7:53 am

U.S. Human Cases of H1N1 Flu Infection

As of 11:30 AM ET on May 2, 2009, CDC has confirmed 160 human cases and 1 death in 21 states:

Arizona: 4
California: 24
Colorado: 2
Connecticut: 1
Delaware: 4
Florida: 2
Illinois: 3
Indiana: 3
Kansas: 2
Kentucky: 1 (case is a resident of Kentucky but currently hospitalized in Georgia)
Massachusetts: 6
Michigan: 2
Minnesota: 1
Missouri: 1
Nevada: 1
New Jersey: 7
New York: 51
Ohio: 1
South Carolina: 13
Texas: 28 (and 1 death)
Virginia: 2
For more information, see the CDC H1N1 Flu website.
the CDC H1N1 Flu website

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Re: Swine Flu Updates

Post by Stephanie on Sun May 03, 2009 8:00 am

Obama aide, family may have swine flu
WASHINGTON -- A security aide helping with arrangements during President Barack Obama's recent trip to Mexico became sick with flu-like symptoms and three members of his family later contracted probable swine flu, the White House said Thursday.

The disclosure from press secretary Robert Gibbs comes days after the White House played down risks to the U.S. delegation on the two-day trip that started April 16. Gibbs remained steadfast that the president was never at risk of contracting the flu, which has quickly spread across the globe.

The employee, who was not named by the White House, is an aide to Energy Secretary Steven Chu and helped plan security for part of the administration's Mexico trip.

"This individual never flew on Air Force One,'' Gibbs said. "He was asked specifically if he ever came within 6 feet of the president, and the answer to that was no.''

The aide arrived in Mexico on April 13, Gibbs said, and became ill on April 16. He developed a fever on April 17, the day Obama left Mexico for the Summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago. The person in question flew back commercially to Dulles on a United flight on April 18; Gibbs had no details yet on whether people on that flight have been notified.

"Obviously we'll do everything in our power to ensure that what can be done to alert them will be done,'' he said.

Ten other people who were on the presidential trip to Mexico saw the White House doctor afterward for symptoms of illness. All were tested and found not to have swine flu, Gibbs said.

The Obama administration appeared to have found out about the security official's case only by happenstance.

In the course of conversations about preparations for a possible pandemic, a White House doctor asked the acting director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Dr. Richard Besser, to notify the administration of any Washington-area cases. Besser said that, in fact, there were some probable cases in Maryland and that they involved an employee of the Energy Department.

The man, who is from Anne Arundel County, Md., near Baltimore, visited his brother on April 19 and his nephew became ill. In the next two days, the aide's wife and son also became ill, Gibbs said.

Gibbs said the three members of the aide's family are being tested to see if they had the same strain of swine flu that is threatening to become a pandemic. More than 100 cases have been confirmed within the United States.

Gibbs said the aide is listed as a suspected case of the virus. He returned to work on Thursday.

"The original patient tested negative likely because so much time had elapsed since the onset of his own symptoms that they would not show up in the test,'' Gibbs said.

"All four individuals experienced only mild symptoms, and all four have recovered,'' he said.

The aide worked on Chu's security detail and went ahead to prepare for the trip. He attended a dinner with Obama on April 16 but Gibbs said the aide never was close enough to Obama to put the president at risk.

Obama has had no symptoms of the virus and doctors see no need to conduct any tests on his health, Gibbs said.

He also said the energy secretary hasn't experienced any symptoms.

Asked about others involved in the U.S. delegation to Mexico City, Gibbs said no one else has gotten sick.

The White House declined to release the aide's identity, citing privacy concerns.

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