Swine Flu In The Southwest
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Swine Flu is all the news this week. Although the Centers for Disease Control have identified only eight cases in the United States, many cases are active in Mexico. For those who connect the dots, one would imagine that the U.S. cases might be found in high immigration areas and yes, indeed, that would be correct.

On Friday, April 24th, the CDC reported 6 cases in California in San Diego and Imperial Counties. For those not familiar with California, both counties are just north of the Mexican border. The CDC reported that two cases occurred in San Antonio, Texas but they are not in San Antonio, they are in Guadalupe County which is a southern county and is east of San Antonio.

For those not familiar with Guadalupe County, Seguin is one of the larger towns. With apologies to my Texas cousins who live in Sequin, it is nowhere but it is charming in its way. The area is somewhat rural and in the 2000 Census, 90,000 people lived there with a diverse population including 33 percent Hispanic residents.

The public health investigators can find no connection of person-to-person transmission between the flu cases in Texas and California. One might guess, therefore, that the transmission was between Mexican residents and U.S. residents. At least one California victim had just traveled to Mexico. What the investigators did find is that the flu strains in the U.S. and Mexico are genetically related.

Over the week end, two cases showed up in Kansas. The husband visited Mexico for a conference. In New York City the Health Commissioner, Thomas Frieden, said that eight students at a school there appear to have the virus. How interesting that the City of New York has told doctors to be vigilant about any patients who have flu-like symptoms and have traveled recently to California, Texas or Mexico. Two families in Manhattan say that they have flu like symptoms and just recent returned ill from Mexico. So, please, where is our national government warning Americans to be cautious about visiting Mexico?

So far, no one at the CDC or in the main stream media will publicly put two and two together. So like the tomato scare, which was not tomatoes at all, U.S. residents will just have to be patient until it is patently obvious to all what the problem is.

In the meantime, state and local health agency personnel continue to investigate cases and the CDC recommends that residents of Texas and California:

  • " Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • " Wash your hands with soap and water.
  • " Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.

In addition, the CDC advises that clinicians should consider the possibility of swine influenza virus infections in patients presenting with febrile respiratory illness who:

  • " Live in San Diego County or Imperial County,, California or San Antonio, Texas or
  • " Have traveled to San Diego and/or Imperial County, California or San Antonio, Texas or
  • " Have been in contact with ill persons from these areas in the 7 days prior to their illness onset.

Never mind that people who have contacted Mexicans might also be in danger. And, what about staying out of Mexico? Are there any suggested prohibitions from the Feds about traveling there to avoid being infected with the virus? No, no restrictions are in order according to the CDC, as investigators cannot definitively connect the U.S. cases and the Mexican cases.

Oh, really? Must be the tomatoes that caused it or maybe it was the cilantro or the jalapenos. How is it that health officials in New York City say that those who visit California, Texas or Mexico should be aware and our national government stays silent? Just wondering.

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