Swine Flu

This was almost an if-you-blink-you’ll-miss-it story, but it appears to be growing quickly. Being a political junkie like I am, torture revelations since the April 16th release of the Office of Legal Counsel memos by the Obama administration have heavily dominated the news. But that is most definitely not the only news out there. My previous post was about the increased possibility for health care reform this year due to choices made about how to conduct the legislative process. This story hasn’t been percolating in the background like health reform, but there have been precursors (SARS and bird flu). I might have skipped over the story entirely but for an off-hand posting by a friend suggesting a Mexico trip was no longer going to happen.

The New York Times and Washington Post reported stories Friday of a few cases of flu outbreak along the U.S.-Mexico border region that were novel because they contained strains of human, avian, and swine flu viruses. The cases in the U.S. have been mild, with all patients so far tracked in the U.S.  having recovered. In Mexico, the virus has not been as benign, with at least 81 dead so far and over 1000 sickened.

At this point, Mexican President Felipe Calderón has taken steps to isolate flu victims, cancel public events, have health officials and soldiers pass out masks, and check travelers for symptoms before they leave the country. President Obama has been briefed and the administration is actively watching the situation. Australia, New Zealand, and Isreal are also monitoring. In the initial stories in the New York Times and the Washington Post, Anne Schuchat, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases was quoted saying that they didn’t think it was time for major concern. But I’ll tell you what, they”ve certainly got my attention now.

In this case, I’m actually looking to sources in addition to traditional media to keep up with developments. DemFromCT on Daily Kos is excellelent; Hilzoy on Political Animal has a good post with links to additional resources; and there’s also the Flu Wiki forum which DemFromCT contributes to.

Many more links with excerpts below the fold. Continue reading “Swine Flu”