Archive for Wednesday, April 29, 2009

U.S. sees first death from swine flu

23-month old Mexican infant dies in Houston

April 29, 2009, 10:32 a.m. Updated April 29, 2009, 5:47 p.m.


Swine Flu Pandemic

An outbreak of H1N1 Swine Flu was reported in Mexico in April 2009. By the end of May, it had spread across the U.S., with all 50 states reporting cases.

— The swine flu outbreak began hitting home across the U.S. Wednesday, spreading to 11 states and closing schools amid confirmation of the first U.S. death — a Mexican toddler who visited Texas with his family — and the confinement of dozens of Marines after one came down with the disease in California.

Some 100 schools were closed, and more might need to be shut down temporarily, President Barack Obama said, declaring, “This obviously is a serious situation.” The total confirmed cases in the U.S. rose to nearly 100, with many more suspected.

The Geneva-based World Health Organization sounded its own ominous alarm, raising its alert level to one notch below a full-fledged global pandemic. Said WHO Director General Margaret Chan: “It really is all of humanity that is under threat during a pandemic.”

Dr. Richard Besser, acting chief of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in Atlanta there were confirmed cases in ten states, including 51 in New York, 16 in Texas and 14 in California. The CDC counted scattered cases in Kansas, Massachusetts , Michigan, Arizona, Indiana, Nevada and Ohio.

State officials in Maine said laboratory tests had confirmed three cases in that state, not yet included in the CDC count.

And the Pentagon said a Marine at the Twentynine Palms base in California had been confirmed to be ill with swine flu and was isolated, along with his roommate. A Marine spokesman at the Pentagon, Maj. David Nevers, said the sick Marine was doing well and his condition continued to improve. Nevers said about 30 others who had been in contact with the sick Marine would be held apart for five days as well as to see if they show symptoms.

In Mexico, where the flu is believed to have originated, officials said Wednesday that the disease was now suspected in 159 deaths, and nearly 2,500 illnesses.

Despite calls from many U.S. lawmakers for tightening controls over the Mexico-US border, administration officials ruled out that option.

“Closing our nation’s borders is not merited here,” said Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano at a mid-afternoon briefing, echoing comments she made earlier in the day while being pressed by senators at a hearing.

She said closing borders or U.S. ports would have enormous adverse economic consequences and would have “no impact or very little” to help stop the spread of the virus.

“This virus is already in the United States. Any containment theory ... is really moot at this time,” Napolitano said.

In fact, customs agents have delayed 49 people at the border because of flulike symptoms and 41 have been cleared so far. Test results on the other eight were not complete.

Obama offered “my thoughts and prayers” to the family of a nearly two-year-old Mexican boy who died in Houston, the first confirmed U.S. fatality among more than five dozen infections. Health officials in Texas said the child had traveled with his family from Mexico to Brownsville on April 4 and had been sick for five days before being hospitalized there. He then was brought to Houston where he died Monday night.

Texas called off all public high school athletic and academic competitions at least until May 11 due to the outbreak.

The Senate’s top Republican said the spread was a “very worrisome situation and we’re all following it very closely.” Said Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky: “We stand ready to closely work with the administration to protect the American people as this situation unfolds.”

Laboratory testing showed the new virus was treatable by the anti-flu drugs Tamiflu and Relenza, and the first shipments from a federal stockpile arrived Wednesday in New York City and several other locations. The government was shipping to states enough medication to treat 11 million people as a precaution. All states should get their share by May 3.

No shortages had been reported — there was plenty in regular pharmacies, federal health officials said.

A pandemic is an epidemic that has expanded globally. The swine flu has now been reported on four continents.

Germany and Austria became the latest countries to report infections. Germany reported four cases on Wednesday, Austria one case.

New Zealand’s total rose to 14. Britain had earlier reported five cases, Spain four. There were 13 cases in Canada and two in Israel.

The disease is not spread by eating pork and U.S. officials appeared to go out of their way on Wednesday to not call the strain “swine flu.” Obama called the bug the “H1N1 virus,” and other administration officials followed his lead.

“The disease is not a food-borne illness,” Rear Adm. Anne Schuchat, CDC’s interim science and public health deputy direct, told the Senate Homeland Security Committee.

She said the strain is particularly worrisome because “it’s a virus that hasn’t been around before. The general population doesn’t have immunity from it.”

People have various levels of protection against other more common types of flu because they are exposed to it over time, and that protection accumulates. She suggested that some older people might have more resistance to this particular strain than younger people because its traits might resemble outbreaks of decades ago.

Of particular concern were the cases in New York City.

Health officials said the number of confirmed swine flu cases in New York had risen to 51, and tests were under way on the first three probable cases outside New York City.

City Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden said Wednesday all those with confirmed cases are recovering, including a 19-month-old baby and a young woman who were hospitalized.

Two Brooklyn Catholic schools closed Wednesday because of suspected cases. A Queens Catholic school with a large outbreak and a nearby special education school, where about 80 children called in sick, already closed.

Obama said it is the recommendation of public health officials that authorities at schools with confirmed or suspected cases of swine flu “should strongly consider temporarily closing so that we can be as safe as possible.”

However, former Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, on her first full day on the job as health and human services secretary, said school closings cause “a large ripple effect.”

“What happens to the parents? Where do those children go? Do you close the day care center if a younger sibling is there?” Sebelius asked at a briefing for reporters.

Obama noted he had asked Congress for $1.5 billion in emergency funds to help build more drug stockpiles and monitor future cases, as well as help international efforts to avoid a full-fledged pandemic, an epidemic that spreads widely across the globe.


Danielle Brunin 9 years, 1 month ago

Or, maybe this virus is retribution for all of the civilians we've killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, and through our support of Israel!

Of course I'm being facetious, but understand that such logic works both ways. You sound like a member of the Phelps family. This flu virus has shown up because conditions were right for it to do so. It will spread and then it will disappear until the next one.

Alia Ahmed 9 years, 1 month ago

lawrenceguy40 (Anonymous) says…

How sad.

Remember folks, you reep what you sow. First US death on the day a pro-choice HHSS is sworn in!

I'm sure the parents of the toddler who died gladly sacrificed their son so your God could show the US how much he disproves of a political appointment. Sounds like a loving and just God, eh?

RoeDapple 9 years, 1 month ago

The link stated that the USA averages 35,000 flu related deaths annually from all other strains.

Alia Ahmed 9 years, 1 month ago


I've heard about the same figure, that on average 100 Americans a day die of the flu.

gr 9 years, 1 month ago

"This flu virus has shown up because conditions were right for it to do so."

Yep. The "conditions" were right. Such as being created in experiments by the CDC to see if the virus can jump species. Guess it can.

Oh well. There are too many people anyway for this planet to support. And if we can scare the rest to death, all the better.

We have to be able to test whether we can shut whole cities down. Give some scares, get the people willing to give up their rights for a "good thing", and soon we will have total control.

36,000 deaths a year. Where will this flu take us? Blah, blah, the sky is falling, polar bears will forget how to swim...

But some questions come to mind: Were those 36,000 vaccinated? What about that number, 36,000? From it says, "CDC estimated that about 36,000 people died of flu-related causes each year, on average, during the 1990s in the United States. This figure includes people dying from complications of flu." Ooops. Already the number doesn't seem to be such a fact. Words such as, "flu-related", "complications". Hmmm.

"Flu-related deaths are deaths that occur in people for whom influenza infection was likely a contributor to the cause of death, but not necessarily the primary cause of death." Not the primary cause.

"For pneumonia and influenza (P&I) deaths, CDC estimates approximately 8,000 deaths are associated with flu." "For respiratory and circulatory (R&C) deaths, CDC estimates approximately 36,000 deaths are associated with flu. " "For all-cause deaths, CDC estimates that approximately 51,000 deaths are associated with flu. "

8,000, 36,000, 51,000 - which is it? 2007-2008: "Exact numbers of how many people died from flu this season cannot be determined." What?! "Thus, this system does not allow for an estimation of the number of deaths, only the relative severity among different influenza seasons." What?! "However, CDC tracks pneumonia and influenza (P&I) deaths through the 122 Cities Mortality Reporting System. " Oh. 83 deaths of children for 2008 76 for 2007 46 for 2006 By the way, does the CDC recognize the flu causing pneumonia? Why list them together?

Where'd 36,000 come from? Better take a look here:

Alia Ahmed 9 years, 1 month ago

bearlybrewed (Anonymous) says…

For all those who openly embrace open borders for migrant workers etc….this could be your wakeup call.

Well, it sounds like you've been listening to Beck, Savage and Malkin who are trying to stir up xenophobiac fears by implying the illegal immigrants are the cause of this. Thus far, most of those infected are either US citizens who visited Mexico and came back with the illness and exposed family members and classmates. Even though the toddler who died in Houston was Mexican, he certainly wasn't an illegal migrant worker nor was his family. They were visiting family in Houston and no one else in his family is sick as of yet.

denak 9 years, 1 month ago

sheesh, I can't believe there are some people who are so desperate and hateful that they are trying to turn a disease into some kind of political statment.

This is a disease. It does not care what political persuasian you are. It does not discriminate and it certainly did not evolve so that it could show how "inept" Obama is or why we should have closed borders.

Instead of making this a political issue, lets keep it as a health issue and deal with it accordingly.

Didn't we learn anything in the early 80's when HIV/AIDS hit? Instead of treating that for what it was/is...a. disease...we turned it into a political statement that hampered authorities ability to fight it and get out information.

Mexicans are not the new homosexuals. Let's don't scapegoat them and ignore the problem.


Confrontation 9 years, 1 month ago

So, Bearlybrewed has a problem with illegals coming into this country, but doesn't have a problem with sexual predators roaming free? Weird.

Flap Doodle 9 years, 1 month ago

Hundreds of thousands of people entering America from a Third-World country and avoiding even the most rudimentary health screening? What could go wrong?

cthulhu_4_president 9 years, 1 month ago

Doesn't lawrenceguy40 have any military funerals to protest today?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 1 month ago

Obama tried to get $900 million in the stimulus bill to deal with this exact scenario, but those good ole' fiscally responsible (in spite of the fact that a pandemic could really tank the economy,) anti-choice Republicans wouldn't allow it. Curiously, you're not complaining about that, lawrenceguy40.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 1 month ago

Lapdogs? You should really learn to make such characterizations with somewhat less of a "yipping" tone, Esq2eB.

Alia Ahmed 9 years, 1 month ago

Does anyone know if Donald Rumsfeld still owns a large portion of Roche shares? Roche makes Tamiflu and they made a lot of money after the Avian flu scare.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 1 month ago

"So how you want to distribute this vaccine,"

Should we do it the American Way? You know, form a line, rich people at the front, poor people at the back.

jafs 9 years, 1 month ago

There is no vaccine yet.

It will take several months before one can be developed.

I don't understand why we haven't closed the border - can anyone explain that to me?

Steve Jacob 9 years, 1 month ago

Read up on swine flu and 1976. Time did a very good story on it.,8599,1894129,00.html

And people blaming "pro-choice HHSS" and "retribution" for you think your god is proud of you? And people blaming the CDC "experiments", do you have a comet to catch? I swear the nut jobs come out on stuff like this.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 1 month ago

"I don't understand why we haven't closed the border"

Should we cancel all international flights, as well?

thelonious 9 years, 1 month ago

The best way to stop the spread of this (or any flu or other communicable disease) is for those who get sick to isolate themselves until they get over the disease. But here is what tends to happen - two years ago, a co-worker brought her sick child (who had been turned away from his day-care because he was ill) to work with her rather than use some of her paid time off and stay home with him. Within a week, our office was decimated by sick employees sick with a similar upper-respiratory illness.

People, the number one thing that will help defeat this - if you get sick, go to the doctor, get and take your meds, and STAY HOME!

jafs 9 years, 1 month ago

That might be a good idea too.

However, the most serious cases (and the only ones to result in deaths so far) have been based in Mexico. Even the little boy who dies in this country was from Mexico.

It seems quite clear that the strain in Mexico is the strongest and most dangerous.

Why not err on the side of caution here?

jafs 9 years, 1 month ago


That's absolutely right.

Unfortunately many employers discourage people from staying home when sick unless they're at death's door.

jafs 9 years, 1 month ago

As this thing spreads, and the WHO continues to upgrade the level, why do we just watch?

What would it take to actually do something to prevent the spread?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 1 month ago

Hey, everyone knows that anyone who stays home from work because they are "sick" is really just a lazy welfare crack whore.

Katara 9 years, 1 month ago

It is interesting to note that the number of confirmed cases of swine flu globally is less than the number of rides given annually by the T.

Katara 9 years, 1 month ago

thelonious (Anonymous) says…

The best way to stop the spread of this (or any flu or other communicable disease) is for those who get sick to isolate themselves until they get over the disease. But here is what tends to happen - two years ago, a co-worker brought her sick child (who had been turned away from his day-care because he was ill) to work with her rather than use some of her paid time off and stay home with him. Within a week, our office was decimated by sick employees sick with a similar upper-respiratory illness.

People, the number one thing that will help defeat this - if you get sick, go to the doctor, get and take your meds, and stay home! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ This! This! This!

CamandAddisonsmommy 9 years, 1 month ago

Just wanted to add that there are alot of people like my daughter who have weak immune systems. PLease stay in the house if your sick. Wash your hands!!!!

Flap Doodle 9 years, 1 month ago

It'll be like Mad Max, but with more sneezing.

RedwoodCoast 9 years, 1 month ago

What the bleep would closing the border do for us besides stop the scourge of Mexicans entering our country illegally, Marion?

It really does not matter if we close the border. People fly into the US from other countries every day. Or what if someone in Mexico working on an avocado farm sneezed all over your avocado... or tomato... or... you get the picture. We truly live in a global community these days, which allows pandemics to explode much more quickly than in the past. That's just the way the modern world works. Airports work very well as giant disease transmission nodes.

jafs 9 years, 1 month ago


Closing the border would also mean disallowing flights to and from Mexico.

And, even if it didn't completely prevent the spread, it certainly might minimize it, which would be a good thing, wouldn't it?

Mexico is clearly the place where this all starts.

I just don't understand why we are waiting until it gets worse, rather than trying to stop it from getting worse.

jafs 9 years, 1 month ago

And, other countries are banning air travel to and from Mexico, as I understand it.

Flap Doodle 9 years, 1 month ago

There will be vultures perched on every telephone pole. The living will envy the dead. Cows will give birth to insurance salesmen. Doom ,doom, doom. Prepare for the worst with:

gr 9 years, 1 month ago

srj, if you want to learn about the CDC "experiments", look at

Your Time link did show some interesting information about vaccinations such as risk of Guillain-Barré syndrome and they "carry risks of complications, leading to agonizing ethical dilemmas". And, "today's health officials still make decisions in a "cloud of uncertainty,""

Maddy Griffin 9 years, 1 month ago

Esq2eB- I will ask you again( as I did on another thread) How is any of this Obama's fault?!! It was a rethug who criticized the $70 million in the stimulus for aid in the case of a pandemic. She would not support the stimulus until it was removed. Quit trying to blame all the country's problems on Obama. He inherited a pretty big mess' remember??! And most of us think he's done a great job!!!

gr 9 years, 1 month ago

From Time,8599,1893942,00.html?iid=sphere-inline-sidebar "have tested positive for the new swine flu strain — an as yet unseen combination of swine flu, bird flu and human influenza viruses."

Hmmm. Wonder where that "unseen combination" came from.
Ummm..... Could it be from the CDC "experiments"?

Flap Doodle 9 years, 1 month ago

gr, that tin foil hat will make your head itch if you keep it on too long.

gr 9 years, 1 month ago

snap, was there something you were objecting to, or just didn't like what it showed? That is, do you have legitimate criticism of information? You could argue: The CDC statements don't mean what they say. The recombinomics site gave false information (even though they actually promote vaccines). The experiments of the different viruses and the actual occurrence in the wild are merely circumstantial coincidences which have no relationship to previously performed experiments and an attempt to combine such viruses.

Or do you just have your head in the sand and keep repeating every thing's fine, every thing's fine?

Katara 9 years, 1 month ago

Marion (Marion Lynn) says…

Morons abound on this forum! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Yes, and they all went out and bought 120 N95 face masks.,0,3606923.story

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