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4/26/2009
SWINE FLU PANICS MEXICO

Mexico has a full blown health crisis on its hands as deaths related to the Swin Flu virus have risen to 81 with more than 1300 cases reported.

As this BBC piece containing reader emails from Mexico shows, rumors that the crisis is even worse than the government is reporting are widespread:

I have a sister-in-law from San Luis Potosi state in Mexico and we were told that in San Luis Potosi there have been at least 78 deaths, just in that city alone, not 68 in all of Mexico, as is being reported. Schools have been closed until 6 May in this state and in other areas in Mexico. Also, many public venues are being closed, so this makes it more deadly and dangerous than has been stated.
Migdalia Cruz, Phoenix, Arizona, USA

It’s certainly been very quiet where I’m living in the Historic Centre of Mexico City, whereas normally the centre is almost uncomfortably packed at the weekend. Most people also seem to be wearing the face masks being handed out by the army around the city. There always seems to be a healthy mistrust of the government here, but I wouldn’t say I’m sensing a great deal of paranoia or panic. It does seem as though the unprecedented actions being taken by the government to contain the virus don’t match with the statistics being provided, however, so there is some doubt as to whether they’re just being overly cautious or whether things are a lot worse than what they’re telling the public.
Randal Sheppard, Mexico City

It’s pretty hard these days to cook the books on a health crisis - not with the WHO, the US, and Canada in the mix and looking over the Mexican’s shoulder. The Chinese consistently tried to downplay first the SARS epidemic and then the Bird Flu scare and were called out on it by the WHO several times.

Plus, you might note that in the first response, the woman wonders about the size of the problem when she reports 2nd hand information that 78 people have died in her sister-in-law’s state alone. This is how rumors lead to panic in a situation like this; somebody always hears how bad it is somewhere else and those figures don’t match up with the “official” story. This leads to distrust in government and a panic ensues.

There’s no doubt the fear is real and that the government response is indicative of a serious outbreak of a new, lethal virus. The question is, if it is being spread by human to human contact and if so, how much has the original virus mutated?

The outbreak in New York City is being treated very seriously by the city’s health department but if it is Swine Flu, the bug has apparently mutated and in the process, may have become less lethal.

This New York Times piece by Donald G. McNeil, Jr. reports on the condition of the suspected victims:

Tests show that eight students at a Queens high school are likely to have contracted the human swine flu virus that has struck Mexico and a small number of other people in the United States, health officials in New York City said yesterday.

The students were among about 100 at St. Francis Preparatory School in Fresh Meadows who became sick in the last few days, said Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, New York City’s health commissioner.
“All the cases were mild, no child was hospitalized, no child was seriously ill,” Dr. Frieden said.

Health officials reached their preliminary conclusion after conducting viral tests on nose or throat swabs from the eight students, which allowed them to eliminate other strains of flu. Officials were also suspicious since some St. Francis students recently had been to Mexico, where the outbreak is believed to have started.

If people are dropping dead in Mexico of the disease, how can those infected in the US have only “mild” symptoms?

It could be that the age of the victims differ between the two sites of the outbreak. Flu kills mostly the very old and very young. It overwhelms the immune system before the body’s natural defenses can be mustered to fight it.

However, the Times article seems to indicate that the virus killed young, healthy adults - and their own strength apparently contributed to their demise:

In each year’s flu season, most deaths are in infants and the aged, but none of the first ones in Mexico were in people over 60 or under 3 years old, a W.H.O. spokeswoman said. When a new virus emerges, deaths may occur in healthy adults who mount the strongest immune reactions. Their own defenses - inflammation and leaking fluid in lung cells - can essentially drown them from inside.

It could also be the same virus but the kids in New York contracted a later, mutated form of the bug. This would be unusual but not unprecedented. The bug mutates so that it can survive. If it is killing its host too quickly before it can set up shop in another host in order to replicate, evolution would favor a mutated form of the virus that didn’t kill quite as quickly, thus giving the virus more time to spread and the victim’s body more time to fight the disease. People get sick but not as sick as with the earlier strain of the virus. The mortality rate plummets but the pathogen spreads faster.

It appears from the New York Times article that the government - city, state, and federal - is ready for just such an emergency thanks to the Bush Administration’s preparedness when the Bird Flu scare emerged a few years ago. Millions of doses of Tamiflu (which appears to work on the Swine Flu virus) are available as are mountains of other supplies:

Because of fears of the H5N1 avian flu, both New York City and the United States have had detailed pandemic emergency plans in place since 2005, as well as stockpiles of emergency supplies and flu drugs (the plan can be read at http://www.pandemicflu.gov/).

Dr. Frieden said that for such an emergency, the city had extra hospital ventilators, huge reserves of masks and gloves and “millions of doses of Tamiflu,” an antiflu drug that thus far appears to work against the new swine strain.

President Calderone in Mexico has taken extraordinary measures to combat the spread of the virus including canceling most major sporting events, closing movie theaters, shutting schools, and generally preventing people from gathering in large crowds.

We’ll see if the press plays this straight or starts to generate scare headlines that will panic people into going to the hospital every time they sneeze. If that occurs, hospitals will be overwhelmed and the really sick people may die because of the delay in treatment.

President Obama may be about to be tested not by the Russians or the North Koreans, but by the smallest of God’s creatures - a primitive but deadly form of life that could very well tax our health care system and cause a lot of suffering. We’ll see if he’s up to the challenge.

By: Rick Moran at 7:23 am
24 Responses to “SWINE FLU PANICS MEXICO”
  1. 1
    Right Wing Nut House » SWINE FLU PANICS MEXICO Pinged With:
    8:47 am 

    [...] See the rest here:  Right Wing Nut House » SWINE FLU PANICS MEXICO [...]

  2. 2
    busboy33 Said:
    8:48 am 

    “We’ll see if the press plays this straight or starts to generate scare headlines that will panic people into going to the hospital every time they sneeze.”

    Why Rick . . . surely you don’t think that the MSM would place ratings over calm, reasoned, and helpful reporting? I’m shocked!

    . . . although I do have to confess to a morbid curiosity as to what tag lines and graphics they come up with for this one. “Revenge of the Bacon”? “Terror from the Mud”? Photoshopped pictures of Babe with smoldering crimson eyes? I’m embarassed to admit how excited I am for the U.S. media to utterly disappoint me.

  3. 3
    Sorta Blogless Sunday Pinuo » Pirate’s Cove Pinged With:
    9:09 am 

    [...] Right Wing Nut House has a serious, and chilling, post on the swine flu [...]

  4. 4
    Chuck Tucson Said:
    10:53 am 

    Rick, how’s this for timely… I’m sure it’s just a typo.

    http://imgur.com/ESAq.jpg

  5. 5
    michael reynolds Said:
    12:33 pm 

    I’m sure Lou Dobbs will handle this with great discretion. I’m guessing his bumper graphic will be, “Mexapocalypse Now!”

  6. 6
    US didn’t know about swine flu until a week after Canada did… why? | BitsBlog Pinged With:
    1:29 pm 

    [...] Rick Moran points out its hard these days to cook the books on a Healthcare crisis. That said, it does seem fairly easy [...]

  7. 7
    T13 Said:
    2:01 pm 

    About this time every year the Gov’t and MSM try to scare the hell out of us about SARS, Avian Flu, Ebola, Hanta, what others am I missing?

  8. 8
    Biff Boswell Said:
    2:09 pm 

    This IS a big deal and, once again, the current administration looks like it will underestimate the problem. I wonder, is Swine Flu a biological weapon? It just might be bioterrorism… http://tinyurl.com/tcw-swineflu

  9. 9
    funny man Said:
    2:40 pm 

    The evolution of viruses is rapid and unpredictable. Something like this could now or in the future pose a serious problem. However, I just don’t see the politics in it.

  10. 10
    Isabel Lopez Said:
    3:51 pm 

    I am really scared. I have 2 sons. And I feel sick, but I think it is because I have read a lot about this matter. I am also mad at the goverment because I personally think they are not telling us the whole truth. Here in Toluca and in Mexico City people seem to be panic. And we do not know what to do.

  11. 11
    Swine Flu Sweeping Across The Americas Now — Are You Frightened? Chances Are “Yeppers!” If You Are A Republican. | THE GUN TOTING LIBERAL™ Pinged With:
    6:10 pm 

    [...] Other “Must Reads” From My Fellow Political Bloggers: Shawn Mallow of Wizbang (Right) uses the same tongue-in-cheek logic to oppose my own; Jules Crittendon and Michelle Malkin (Both Right) are blaming this upon President Obama’s President Bush’s wide open border -slash- illegal alien policies; Meanwhile, Rick Moran of Right Wing Nuthouse resists his Conservative tendency to be easily frightened and even voices his doubts as to the seriousness of it all even points out the dismal track record of the Mai…; [...]

  12. 12
    busboy33 Said:
    1:26 am 

    @ Mike reynolds”

    “I’m guessing his bumper graphic will be, ‘Mexapocalypse Now!’”

    Golf claps all around — you win.
    I can see a staffer reading this blog and facepalming themselves when they read that. “Dammit! Why didn’t I think of that? All I had was ‘The Brown Plague’!”

  13. 13
    michael reynolds Said:
    9:35 am 

    Busboy:

    Thanks. I kind of like the brown plague though. Very Lou Dobbs.

    I hope I can count on your support for renaming this Swine Flu as “Carnitas Flu.” That way it sounds more like something you’d order at Chile’s or El Pollo Loco, as opposed to something you might study in veterinary school.

  14. 14
    Violeta Said:
    12:02 pm 

    Stop telling stupid things about mexicans people from other countries! This is a moment to be helping us one to another instead of judging our color!

  15. 15
    Chris Said:
    6:58 pm 

    Yet another reason to close the southern border up tight. Yet another gift from Mexico, like the kidnapping, illegals, drugs and murder weren’t enough.

    Violeta, Mexico ALWAYS thinks it’s time for someone to help them. Help yourselves for once instead of helping yourselves to American largesse.

  16. 16
    Eco Diario Trackbacked With:
    4:39 am 

    Influenza suina, la prevenzione poteva evitarla…

    Forse il virus dell’influenza suina si è sviluppato all’interno di un allevamento perché c’è più probabilità che si trovino qui degli umani che stanno a contatto con gli animali, i loro rifiuti e la loro carne, ma gli investigato…

  17. 17
    Andrés Said:
    12:59 pm 

    Chris:

    People like you make me really sad. America doesn’t want narcotraphic, but she’s not willing to stop the drug consumption, she doen’t want illegals but she’s not willing to do new reforms solutions to unfair prices and an unfair trade at the market. We are your neighbours and whether you like it or not, neighours are supposed to work hand in hand, when they don’t this is what happens, you have a 1st world counrty (with a colapsing economy) and a 3rd world country next to each other, hateing eachother. Mexicans did not create swine flu just like Chinese and Southeast asians did not create the avian flu. Mexico is working hard with extraordinary meassures to stop this from growing larger, how about appreciating that?

    We don’t ask for help, we ask to work together with the interests of both countries in mind, not just America’s.

  18. 18
    Roxan Said:
    5:07 pm 

    Common sense should have prevailed. In the first place, travel to and from any contaminated nation should have been severely restricted. Also, it would have been nice if the U.S. borders had been secured but our idiots in Washington refuse to do that. (so much for “Homeland Security.”)

    Yes, of course trade policies should be revamped. This free trade, NAFTA, GATT, globalization is total BS and is bad for the working classes. It’s great for the corrupt corporations though, who coupled with the banksters would like to see most of the world in crushing poverty and serfdom while they themselves get to live like kings.

    I would dearly love to see the “Corporate Personhood” law destroyed. They enjoy & privatize all the benefits/profits and socialize/pass their bad debt onto us and are accountable to no one.

    Yes, drug use should be addressed in the U.S. It is these people who are driving these drug wars….But it’s strange to me why this situation is so much worse now than (when in the 60s/70s, people engaged in far more drug use than today)….Now, almost always, when anybody applies for jobs (legal citizens anyway), they’re required to take drug tests before getting the job and sometimes, there’s random drug tests on the job as well.

    Finally, I know about the NAU (North American Union)-the plan to merge: Canada, the US & Mexico together. The EU has already been formed. The NAU is next (thanks to treasonous politicians) belonging to the CFR (Council on Foreign Relations, Trilateral Commission, Skull/Bones Society, etc and who also attend Bilderberg meetings)…This NAU and EU is a step to the GLOBAL (NEW/1 WORLD ORDER). This isn’t a good thing, especially with the likes of the Rothschilds, Kissinger, Brzinzki, etc running the show.

    And although, Lou Dobbs gets knocked on this site, he’s essentially the only one talking about this on any Mainstream Media. Otherwise, this is known basically on the internet. The False Mainstream Media isn’t going to talk about it any time soon. They’d usually rather talk about the latest antics of: Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, etc.

    This also might sound crazy to you, but this “never-before-seen strain” of the swine/bird flu might have been lab created in a place like (Plum Island or Ft Detrick). What happened to those missing vials of flu virus? Also, it is thought that the “1918 Spanish flu” was highly unusual and lab created as well and was injected into some army people and this is actually what got that started….And it is peculiar why in recent years, some scientists were working so hard to dig up the “Spanish flu” virus and the excuse given was that this would help prevent future flu pandemics.

    Also, I often wonder what’s in those chem trails (often seen in grids and X’s) often seen spewed out in four plumes in very high-flying quite white planes. Some people think it’s only water. I wonder though and what goes up must come down and everything is exposed to this.

    Finally, again, I wonder why the Media had such a (hype/horror show over this), when there was no serious attempt at restricted travel to and from the national source of contamination) and why the borders weren’t secured and why the Falsimedia didn’t call Napolitano, Homeland Security and the president on the carpet for this.

  19. 19
    Andrés Said:
    11:52 pm 

    Roxan:

    Thanks for all the useful information and questioning, I’m just sick of people blaming this on my country when actualy the WHO congratulated Mexico (the whole country) for its response to the problem. I don’t see anyone talking about that.

  20. 20
    busboy33 Said:
    2:16 pm 

    @Roxan:

    “Common sense should have prevailed.”

    There’s your problem right there.

  21. 21
    Matt Manfredi Said:
    2:23 pm 

    According to a NY Times article in January of 2009 http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/p/plum_island_animal_disease_center/index.html
    Plum Island Animal Disease Research Lab is set to close thanks to the the new administration. Could the swine flu pandemic be retribution for the lab closing?

  22. 22
    Alberto Hernandez Said:
    4:40 pm 

    Andres,,,,
    I live in state of Veracruz where the Virus started… to say that Mexico has handled the situation properly is rediculous.. in truth.. the Supreme Narco Traficante…. Fidel Herrera… denied that there have even been cases in Veracruz where it all started. In truth, if the Virus had been properly diagnosed in the beginning, when 60% of the population in la Gloria, Perote Veracruz were sick with “flu” type symptoms in Late Feb and March.. then this whole Pandemic could have possible been avoided!!! The problem with mexico is that they are light years behind the USA in sanitation.. and take no responsibility for their mistakes… even more so.. The most corrupt polititian..Fidel Herrera.. who magically won the Lotery 2 times in one year and used tax payers money to build a multi million dollar bridge to his island that he purchased with his Drug Money,,,tries to run and hide and deny the problems.. and won´t allow the bodies from La Gloria to be exumed… but this is clasi PRI for you!!!! Also the President of education, who is also PRI, won´t even pay the teachers for their time away from work…. a full 15 days, when only 7 days are being missed of actual school… leaving milliones with out money.. Just what Mexico needs.. more people with out money!!!! On a brighter note… Felipe is doing a great job and very determined against the “narco traficantes” plagueing Mexico!!!

  23. 23
    Andrés Said:
    2:48 am 

    Sure, one thing is Veracruz and another one is the rest of the country. I just said what the WHO declared yesterday, or the day before, depending on the time zone. I believe Mexico City’s government did a very good job handling the situation, the same as San Luis Potosí, while on the other hand, there are states like Colima and Querétaro that are standing firm on saying that there are no cases of swine flu in their terriotories. This is thanks to the extreme right wing politicians Silverio Cabazos and Francisco Garrido and their retarded ideas of leaving a good impression by lying about their state’s health.

  24. 24
    Tara Murphy Said:
    7:06 pm 

    Mexico City is the second most polluted city in the world. Pulmonary/respiratory problems are part of life there. The inhabitants have had more than their fair share of white surgical mask days. I believe that the environment has depleted the residents’ immune systems, or at least weakened them which explains why the flu is killing young adults and people who otherwise should be healthy and robust. Also, nutritional factors — much malnourishment in Mexico, leads to
    a compromised immune system as well. What galls me is that area reported as the source of the virus has had problems in the past with swine flu. In October, 2008 the village which is home to a pig factory, protested in the streets with signs depicting pigs with a red STOP stripe on them. 1500 out of the 3000 inhabitants of that village were sick.
    We cannot expect Mexico’s government to 1) tell the truth 2) warn the world about serious situations that could impact everyone in the world 3) take any responsibility whatever–like the absence of a campaign promoting personal and animal-handling hygiene.

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