Public health emergency declared over swine flu outbreak

A new strain of flu has made its way here from Mexico: the swine flu, a mix of human, pig, and bird strains of the flu. It spread quickly in Mexico, and then moved into the United States. It’s reached five states already, and now, the United States has issued a public health emergency over it, a travel warning to Mexico has been issued… despite Obama’s assurance that the swine flu was no cause for alarm.

The U.S. declared a public health emergency Sunday to deal with the emerging new swine flu, much like the government does to prepare for approaching hurricanes.

Officials reported 20 U.S. cases of swine flu in five states so far, with the latest in Ohio and New York. Unlike in Mexico where the same strain appears to be killing dozens of people, cases in the United State have been mild — and U.S. health authorities can’t yet explain why.

“As we continue to look for cases, we are going to see a broader spectrum of disease,” predicted Dr. Richard Besser, acting chief of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “We’re going to see more severe disease in this country.”

At a White House news conference, Besser and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano sought to assure Americans that health officials are taking all appropriate steps to minimize the impact of the outbreak.

Top among those is declaring the public health emergency. As part of that, Napolitano said roughly 12 million doses of the drug Tamiflu will be moved from a federal stockpile to places where states can quickly get their share if they decide they need it. Priority will be given to the five states with known cases so far: California, Texas, New York, Ohio and Kansas.

As has been said already, this is yet another reason we need to be careful about keeping our borders secure. This is the reason why proper medical screening for people to enter our country is needed, especially from third world or developing countries like Mexico, whose citizens are more susceptible to diseases than Americans are. Don’t get me wrong, I doubt this will make Janet Napolitanon suddenly understand why we need to close our borders, but it should make us understand, and start voting in politicans who do as well in 2010.

Meanwhile, as the hysteria surrounding this swine flu grows, Obama played golf yesterday.

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Ava Gardner