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Swine Flu Virus Spreads in N. America, Europe

Posted April. 28, 2009 04:13,   


The spread of the swine flu outbreak that started in Mexico to across the globe has prompted a U.S. declaration of a national public health emergency.

U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano made the announcement at a news conference at the White House Sunday. “All persons entering the United States from a location of human infection of swine flu will be processed through all appropriate protocols and travelers who show symptoms will be isolated,” she said.

The number of swine flu infections increased to 20 people in five states – New York, California, Texas, Kansas and Ohio.

Mexican health authorities said the number of deaths due to swine flu increased from 81 Saturday to 103 a day later, and that of suspected cases rose from 1,324 to 1,614. Canada also confirmed six cases.

Fear over the new epidemic is spreading globally as reports of additional cases come in: nine in Colombia, five in Australia, three in Brazil, and two in Scotland. Thirteen cases were confirmed Saturday in New Zealand, seven in Spain, and one each in France and Israel.

The World Bank has granted 25 million U.S. dollars in emergency loans and 180 million dollars in long-term assistance. Many nations are limiting travel to Mexico and banning Mexican pork imports.

In Korea, the government yesterday decided to expand the daily check system for swine flu to all medical institutions nationwide at a high-level meeting chaired by Prime Minister Han Seung-soo.

Lee Jong-koo, director of the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said, “Those who traveled to Mexico and the United States around April 17 are likely to have been exposed to the swine flu virus. People in the region around that period or those with cold symptoms after contacting people who traveled to the region must visit a doctor or a public health center and get checked immediately.”

“The maximum latent period is seven days, and this week will be the first critical period.”

If the swine flu virus is detected in a person, he or she will be immediately quarantined and receive treatment.

Korean health authorities will also buy more of the anti-viral drug Tamiflu.

Jeon Byeong-ryul, head of the Center for Communicable Disease Surveillance and Response, said, “We have enough Tamiflu for 2.5 million people but we’ve asked the Strategy and Finance Ministry for more funds to secure additional doses for another 2.5 million people."

"Once we have the budget, we can stockpile the drug for five million people or 10 percent of the population.”

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