May 1, 2009
With 16 deaths from swine flu confirmed worldwide, there’s a growing stir surrounding the H1N1 virus.
American airport officials diverted a flight from Germany to Washington DC because a 53-year-old female passenger complained she might have symptoms of the deadly disease.
Mexico has asked Chile to host two football club matches because of the swine flu outbreak.
Greece – which has no confirmed cases – has indefinitely frozen exports of antiviral drugs to safeguard the country.
Across the world more than eleven countries have confirmed cases of the infection, Denmark and Hong Kong being the latest.
Mexico is preparing to shut down parts of its economy for five days to slow the spread of swine flu. So far 12 deaths in the country have been officially attributed to the virus.
[efoods]The number of cases of swine flu at the heart of the worldwide outbreak has risen to over 340, says Mexico’s health secretary.
The World Health Organization has started referring to the virus as ‘influenza A’ following concerns from farmers that the term ‘Swine Flu’ may be misleading. The disease cannot be caused by eating pork, the organization says.
One person has died in Texas, which is the only death outside Mexico so far. A state of Public Health emergency has been declared in the US. Across the world at least thirteen countries including Israel and Spain have confirmed cases of the infection.
A ‘pilot vaccine’ is being developed under the supervision of the EU. However, some conspiracy theories that are spreading just as fast as the virus have already dismissed the hysteria over the virus as a malevolent plot orchestrated by pharmaceutical companies in order to cash in on people’s fear. One in particular believes that the strain has been purposely engineered so companies producing vaccines can cash in.
In New York City many dismiss the media hysteria but are not as quick to debunk theories for the outbreak. People on Manhattan’s streets have shown their skepticism over the vaccination:
“That’s the whole medical industry. I don’t get the flu shot, ‘cause it seems whenever I get the flu shot I get sick. If I don’t get the flu shot, I don’t get the flu. Are there swine in New York City? Sure – the politicians,” says a New York resident.