Just when you thought it was safe to be standing in line behind someone who sneezes, you find that it isn’t. Normally the flu season is well over by now and the only sneezing you see or hear is when the sun gets in one’s eyes. Sadly for us all that is not the case as health monitoring agencies around the world are finding out. This time the bug is coming across the border from Mexico to the United States. Could it be that Mexico City is the new Hong Kong?
Long noted as ground central for various flus Hong Kong has had many influenza strains and outbreaks named after it. And rightly so; for the area is not exactly known for its cleanliness given the fact that there is no sewage system where the majority of the people live; on the water. But this latest outbreak and one of the most deadliest we have seen in a number of years comes from a place that one never hears of the flu coming from and that has raised more than just a few eyes of concern among those who monitor world wide flu outbreaks.
Mexico City? A recent news report stating that officials from California, Kansas, New York, Texas and several other states, were experiencing cases of flu that they had never seen before set alarms off at the CDC in Atlanta, the government agency that studies these kind of things. Dave Daigle, a spokesman for the CDC, has been quoted as saying, “This is the first time that we’ve seen an avian strain, two swine strains and a human strain,” Early reports say this strain has a little bit of everything. But how swine or bird flu jumps from swine and birds is still a mystery in many cases making the search for the source of the infection that much harder.
The most upsetting thing of course is that people are dying from this new bug. Mexico reports over one hundred deaths and what has many very concerned is that it’s not necessarily the elderly or young that are being hurt the worst. This equal opportunity problem is affecting the middle age groups that are not necessarily addressed as high risk. And if we add to this that this appears to be affecting everyone in the warm season not the cold, you suddenly find yourself wishing it were wintertime again.
Okay maybe we aren’t thinking that just yet, but anyone who has ever had a summer cold can attest they aren’t any less miserable to get through than a winter one. Make no mistake about it, this is no ordinary cold. The Washington Post reported that people in Mexico City are wearing surgical masks and it appears that this is something that is only just beginning.
It was only two weeks ago that the President dispatched the Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano to Mexico to discuss the drug traffic between our two countries. Now she is setting the stage for dealing with a potential pandemic and now the drugs are going the other way; Tami flu & Cipro anyone? Busy lady! It wasn’t that long ago we were dealing with outbreaks of fighting along the border over drugs that have left hundreds dead and appear to be getting nastier all the time. We can only hope that our efforts to combat an attack of microbes of swine flu are better carried out than our efforts to stop the drug traffic. Soon you might be asking do you know where you drugs have been, which in itself is nothing to sneeze at!