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 Australia on alert for deadly swine flu from Mexico

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chocochip
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PostSubject: Australia on alert for deadly swine flu from Mexico   April 27th 2009, 1:08 am

http://www.news.com.au/story/0,27574,25389965-421,00.html

AUSTRALIA has put hospital emergency departments on alert and asked doctors to report any likely symptoms of a new strain of deadly swine flu sweeping the globe.

The flu appeared likely to have reached Australia's doorstep as global infections topped 1300.

New Zealand health authorities said they had quarantined a school group of 25 from Auckland after they returned from Mexico on Saturday with flu-like symptoms.

Ten of the students have tested positive for influenza A and are believed "likely" to have contracted swine flu, New Zealand Health Minister Tony Ryall said late yesterday.

Australia's chief medical officer, Jim Bishop, last night urged people to be vigilant but not alarmed as authorities around the world rushed to put in place measures to curb the spread of the outbreak.

Mexico assumed new quarantine powers, shut down schools and cancelled Sunday masses, while the US embassy suspended visa-processing services for travel from its neighbour.

The World Health Authority declared the outbreaks a "public health emergency of international concern", amid fears the disease had spread to 16 Mexican states as well as California, Texas, Kansas, New York City, New Zealand, Canada, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.

In Australia, no cases have been reported.

The strain is suspected to have infected 1324 and killed up to 81 people in Mexico alone since April 13.

US expecting deaths

A top official at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said she feared some people in the United States would die as a new strain of swine flu spreads.

The agency's Dr Anne Schuchat said officials were preparing for a possible spread of the illness beyond the 20 cases confirmed in the United States

"It is clear that this is widespread. And that is why we have let you know that we cannot contain the spread of this virus," Dr Schuchat said.

"I do fear that we will have deaths. It's very hard to predict exactly," Dr. Schuchat said. "We all need to all be prepared for change."

The US has reported 20 confirmed or suspected cases.

Pandemic Potential

The outbreaks do not constitute a pandemic by WHO definitions, but has the potential to evolve into one, leaving airports across the world on alert.

Melbourne's World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre on Influenza - one of four across the globe - is readying itself to receive a sample of the virus, with New Zealand announcing it would send its test results to the group.

The centre was "right in the middle of this", Professor Bishop told The Australian.

Centre director Anne Kelso said the discovery and spread of the new A/H1N1 virus was "unusual", noting the last outbreak of swine flu to attract international concern was in 1976.

"This is a new virus that has a new combination of genes from two different swine sources, and humans and birds ... it is complicated," she said.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade updated its travel advisory for Mexico, warning visitors to prepare for health checks at the nation's international airports.

Spread

Suspected cases were being tested in Europe, Canada, the Middle East and Asia as US health officials confirmed at least 10 people have been infected across the border from Mexico.

In a statement, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said it's recommending that all nations "intensify surveillance for unusual outbreaks of influenza-like illness and severe pneumonia''.

Symptoms of swine flu are similar to regular human flu and include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. In some cases people can experience diarrhoea and vomiting. Pneumonia and respiratory failure have been reported with swine flu infection in people.

"The most worrying fact is that it appears to transmit from human to human,'' said WHO spokesman Thomas Abraham.

These features, along with the fact that young healthy adults have fallen victim to the flu in Mexico, and not the very old or very young, have given rise to fears of an epidemic or even a pandemic.

Canada reported its first confirmed cases of swine flu today at opposite ends of the country, including two in the western province of British Columbia and four in the Atlantic province of Nova Scotia.

Health officials in both provinces said all the cases involved only mild illness, and the people either contracted the virus because they had recently travelled to Mexico or had contact with someone who had been there.

France reported four suspected cases of swine flu among travellers returning from Mexico. Three have now been cleared of the disease while one case in Paris is still under investigation.

Spanish authorities said three people were in quarantine in the northeast region of Catalonia; and five others in Bilbao and Teruel in the north, in Almansa in the southeast, Valencia in the east and southern Algeciras

The Spanish Government has asked AENA, the company that manages Spanish airports, to hand over lists of passengers on flights that brought seven suspected cases back from Mexico officials said.

Special checks were ordered on six flights bringing in about 1500 people from Mexico to Madrid airport on Sunday. Masked specialists monitored everyone leaving the aircraft.

In Scotland two people were admitted to hospital and kept in isolation with flu-like symptoms yesterday. Scottish health secretary Nicola Sturgeon said up to 20 people who had come into contact with the pair had been traced and were being monitored for any sign of illness.

In the first suspected swine flu case in the Middle East, a 26-year-old Israeli man has been hospitalised in Netanya after returning from Mexico, hospital officials said.

In London, a hospital announced that a British Airways steward admitted with "flu-like symptoms'' after arriving on a flight from Mexico City has tested negative.

Another family in the UK city of Stanwick has been isolated after returning from Mexico with flu-like symptoms.

Russia, fearing the spread of swine flu, banned meat imports from Mexico, several US states and nine Latin American nations, a spokesman for Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said.

All passengers entering the US from infected areas will be screened for the virus and isolated if they are showing any symptoms.

AAP, The Australian, Reuters

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PostSubject: Re: Australia on alert for deadly swine flu from Mexico   April 27th 2009, 1:43 am

God I hope not.
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PostSubject: Re: Australia on alert for deadly swine flu from Mexico   April 27th 2009, 2:26 am

Oh Sh!t...

Mexico and New Zealand and everywhere else that has it can Keep it
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PostSubject: Re: Australia on alert for deadly swine flu from Mexico   April 27th 2009, 5:10 pm

ARGH!!! Scary!
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PostSubject: Re: Australia on alert for deadly swine flu from Mexico   April 28th 2009, 1:37 am

no thanks dont want it send it back
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PostSubject: Re: Australia on alert for deadly swine flu from Mexico   April 28th 2009, 3:29 am

I saw on yahoo.com.au this morning that there are 14 suspected cases in Queensland !
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PostSubject: Re: Australia on alert for deadly swine flu from Mexico   April 29th 2009, 2:18 am

great Sad i hope they dont have it Sad

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PostSubject: Re: Australia on alert for deadly swine flu from Mexico   April 29th 2009, 3:04 pm

I heard today there is a possible 130 or so cases! OMG!!!
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PostSubject: Re: Australia on alert for deadly swine flu from Mexico   April 30th 2009, 4:25 am

i heard that too
fingers crossed it is contained and not spread right around our country Sad

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