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Swine Flu Outbreak - Human Transfer

A new strain of swine flu, A (H1N1) has reportedly sickened more than 600 people in Mexico, and possibly killing as many as 60 people there. At the same time, the number of cases in thr United States has risen to eight, with 6 in California and 2 in Shertz, Texas

This seems to be a very fluid and rapidly changing situation. While the CDC is working quickly to try to stay ahead of the spread and to develop a vaccine, acting Director Dr. Richard Besser is expressing concern that this strain of Swine Flu could be so new that it could lead to a pandemic saying that "it's really critically important we learn more about what's going on in Mexico because what's going on in Mexico is raising concerns about much more severe disease."

"What we expect to be seeing is that people start thinking about their own preparedness. What would they do if there were a pandemic? What would they do if there were a new disease in their community? It's all about preparedness," said Besser.

In order for a flu strain to cause a pandemic, you need a virus that is new so the majority of population has no immunity to it. You also need a strain capable of causing severe disease and easily transmitted from person to person.

So far, the Mexican strain seems to fit the bill, but Besser said it will take time to learn more about it.

It must be emphasized that at this time, neither the World Health Organization or the CDC is calling this a pandemic outbreak. Mexico's Health Minister Jose Angel Cordova said, "We're dealing with a new flu virus that constitutes a respiratory epidemic that so far is controllable." Having said that, there is current information suggesting that the U.S. and Mexican cases are from the same strain. It should be noted however that the CDC has begun developing a targeted vaccine but has not ordered production at this time.

This situation is bound to change by tomorrow.

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