Mexican swine flu worries WHO
A potentially deadly new strain of the swine flu virus cropped up in more places in the United States and Mexico on Saturday, in what the World Health Organization called "a public health emergency of international concern."Flu pandemics usually start in China and spread. What is different about this one is it appears to be a mutant that evolved in Mexico. It would be interesting to know what connection the cases in the US may have had with Mexico. The NY Times is reporting eight possible cases in New York City. It appears that the US cases have so far received effective treatment.
The most recent reports Saturday afternoon were of two confirmed cases of the virus in Kansas -- bringing the number of confirmed U.S. cases to 11.
Those joined nine confirmed cases in Texas and California and an apparent outbreak at a private school in New York City, where officials say eight children likely have the virus.
Mexican President Felipe Calderon on Saturday issued an executive decree detailing emergency powers of the Ministry of Health, according to the president's office.
The order gives the ministry with the authority to isolate sick patients, inspect travelers' luggage and their vehicles and conduct house inspections, the statement said.
The government also has the authority to prevent public gatherings, shut down public venues and regulate air, sea and overland travel.
The WHO's Gregory Hartl said the strain of the virus seen in Mexico -- which may have killed as many as 68 people there, according to that nation's health agency -- is worrisome because it has mutated from older strains.
"Any time that there is a virus which changes ... it means perhaps the immunities the human body has built up to dealing with influenza might not be adjusted well enough to dealing with this new virus," Hartl told CNN.
All of the eight U.S. patients in Texas and California have recovered, Dr. Richard Besser, the acting director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Friday. Two of the cases were in Texas, near San Antonio, and six of the cases were in southern California, the CDC said.