As everyone knows by now there is a large outbreak of swine flu. So far there have been 40 cases reported in the United States and at least one in Spain. But by far from reports in the past few days Mexico by far has the most reported cases with 149 deaths in Mexico attributed to the disease.
U.S Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has declared a health emergency. The WHO threat level to a 4 out of 6. The European Union has issued an advisory discouraging all unnecessary travel to places where the disease has been reported, especially Mexico. There have been no casualties in the U.S reported yet, but if it is as severe as many say it is, it wouldn’t surprise me if we hear about one soon.
Human cases of swine influenza A (H1N1) virus infection have been identified in the United States. Human cases of swine influenza A (H1N1) virus infection also have been identified internationally. The current U.S. case count is provided below.
An investigation and response effort surrounding the outbreak of swine flu is ongoing.
CDC is working very closely with officials in states where human cases of swine influenza A (H1N1) have been identified, as well as with health officials in Mexico, Canada and the World Health Organization. This includes deploying staff domestically and internationally to provide guidance and technical support.
Instead of posting a large piece of a news report, I will just post sections from the Reuters report that mention small things that all seem to make the larger portrait of what is going on.
In Mexico City, fearful Christians paraded a centuries-old statue of Jesus, believed to protect against disease, through the streets for the first time in more than a century.
The age of those who have died as a result is chilling.
Thirty-three million Mexican schoolchildren will be off school until the middle of next week as authorities seek to contain the outbreak. Schools in the sprawling capital had already been closed but the government ordered classes canceled across the country until May 6.
Most of the those who died were between 20 and 50 years of age, an ominous sign because a hallmark of past pandemics has been the high rate of fatalities among healthy young adults.
The outbreak also appears that it could have an impact on the global economy. In an increasingly globalized world where people, services goods, and yes even diseases constantly cross national boundaries this could help accelerate an already steep worldwide recession, despite there having been no casualties yet in either Europe, the United States, or Canada.
Oil prices fell more than 2 percent to close to $50 a barrel as investors feared a new blow to an already fragile global economy if trade flows are curbed and manufacturing is hit.
The MSCI world equity index fell 0.8 percent and U.S. stocks also slipped.
Flu fears hit U.S. airline stocks hard as investors worried that the travel industry would suffer. Shares prices for UAL Corp, the parent of United Airlines, shed 14 percent, while Continental Airlines Inc lost 16 percent.
Other travel and leisure stocks such as Hong Kong’s Cathay Pacific Airways and British Airways fell sharply, whereas makers of drugs and vaccines, such as Roche, were higher.
For more go to the CDC website.
Update (4/28 @ 1:17 PM/ET)- Number of Swine Flu cases in the U.S rises to 68.