Swine Flu Alert & Updates




This page addresses the recent outbreak in Mexico of Swine Flu, a particularly nasty strain of influenza. We will keep you up-to-date with the latest news and related stories as they come to us. Please check back regularly.

It appears that this flu is less severe than originally thought, though much credit goes to the health services in Mexico, the US and Canada for containing the outbreak. Still prudence is advisable. Check with your doctor first and follow his/her recommendations about how best to reduce your chances of becoming infected.

For a thorough presentation of the medical facts and background, see the alert page from the Centers for Disease Control: click here.



May 20, 2009

Travel Advisories to Mexico Lifted, MPI Confirms Meeting

MEETINGSNET.COM

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lifted its advisory against non-essential travel to Mexico on May 15. As a result of the CDC's decision, the State Department's Travel Alert relating to the 2009-H1N1 influenza outbreak is no longer in effect.

According to the State Department’s Web site, the CDC continues to suggest that travelers to Mexico (especially those at high risk for complications of influenza) take precautions to reduce their risk of infection while in Mexico. Complete CDC guidelines regarding H1N1 influenza can be found at the CDC Web site.

On May 18 the Canadian government also lifted its advisory against non-essential travel to Mexico. According to a UPI report, Canadian Border Services will continue to check for signs of H1N1, commonly called swine flu, and some airlines still have restrictions in place at least through the end of May.


May 11, 2009

Survey Finds Less Swine Flu Fear

Helen X. Yang for THE HARVARD CRIMSON

Americans’ concerns about catching the H1N1 swine flu have decreased substantially over the past week, though more people have been taking action to protect themselves, according to a Harvard School of Public Health survey released Friday.

The survey, conducted by the Harvard Opinion Research Program at HSPH, is the first comprehensive nation-wide survey that polls the reactions, beliefs, level of alarm about the outbreak. more...


May 10, 2009

Flu? What Flu?

Adriana Zehbrauskas for THE NEW YORK TIMES

MEXICO CITY — If you are looking for a cheap travel destination, try Mexico.

Short of war, Mexico has endured about the worst calamity that can befall a country’s tourism industry over the last few weeks. A few people who had traveled here came down with what looked, initially, like a potentially highly contagious flu. Within days, pictures of civilians clad in surgical masks, like scenes from some science fiction disaster movie, were leading newspaper and television reports around the world.

It will take a long time for would-be vacationers to forget those images, but the Mexican government is trying to help them, with a multimillion-dollar campaign to restore Mexico’s brand, as hotels cut rates 50 to 70 percent.

Some are not even waiting for the World Health Organization pandemic warning to be lifted. AM Resorts, a hotel chain, announced a “flu-free guarantee” at 10 of its 11 Mexico hotels beginning Friday. The company will give three free vacations over the next three years to any customer unfortunate enough to pick up the H1N1 flu virus at one of its Mexico resorts. more...


May 8, 2009

Developments on swine flu worldwide

By The Associated Press

Key developments on swine flu outbreaks, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization and government officials:

_Deaths: 45 in Mexico and two in the U.S., both in Texas. One of those who died in the U.S. was a toddler from Mexico.

_Confirmed cases: More than 3,100 worldwide in 24 countries, including more than 1,100 in Mexico, at least 1,639 in the United States and 214 in Canada. more...

_WHO says up to 2 billion people could be infected by swine flu if the outbreak turns into a pandemic over months or years. But WHO flu chief Keiji Fukuda says it's too early to tell how widespread or severe the outbreak will become.


May 4, 2009

Mexico Plans to Lift Swine Flu Shutdown

Nationwide Shutdown on Schools, Businesses Appears Set to End; Some Fears Persist

ABC News

Mexican officials announced today they would allow most nonessential businesses to reopen Wednesday, after it ordered them closed Friday after the deadly outbreak of the swine flu virus.

On Sunday, Mexico's health ministry said that the worst of the outbreak had passed, partially because of the shutdowns , and that the virus might turn out to be no worse than a typical seasonal flu outbreak.

"The virus has entered into a stabilization phase. The cases are starting to decrease," President Felipe Calderon said, predicting that Mexico would soon begin to get back on its feet. more...


May 2, 2009

Less Potent Than Feared

STRAITS TIMES

ATLANTA - The swine flu outbreak that has alarmed the world for a week now appears less ominous, with the virus showing little staying power in the hardest-hit cities and scientists suggesting it lacks the genetic fortitude of past killer bugs.

A flu expert said he sees no reason to believe the virus is particularly lethal. And a US federal scientist said the germ's genetic makeup lacks some traits seen in the deadly 1918 flu pandemic strain and the more recent killer bird flu.

Still, it was too soon to be certain what the swine flu virus will do. Experts say the only wise course is to prepare for the worst. But in a world that's been rattled by the spectre of a global pandemic, glimmers of hope were more than welcome on Friday.


May 1, 2009

Mexican tourism feeling symptoms of swine flu

By LAURA BLY and DAN REED

USA TODAY

Mexico's economy reeled from an escalating flu outbreak as many American tourists left and new restrictions on public gatherings took effect across the country.

Mexico temporarily suspended operation of non-essential government services and private businesses late Wednesday as the number of confirmed swine flu cases jumped to 99. That excludes hotels but includes bars, restaurants and nightclubs that serve more than 80 people, according to the official Cancun tourism website. more...


April 29, 2009

Airlines waiving change fees amid swine flu scare

By KENT A. MILES

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Monday, April 27, 2009

U.S. airlines are waiving fees for passengers with tickets to Mexico who want to change their reservations because of the swine flu outbreak there.

The relaxed penalties affect passengers who have already bought tickets to or through Mexico, and who want to reroute or reschedule travel. Change fees typically run from $100 to $125 for domestic flights, higher for international flights. more...


April 28, 2009

Developments on swine flu worldwide

By The Associated Press

Key developments on swine flu outbreaks, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization, and government officials:

_Deaths: 152, all in Mexico, 20 confirmed as swine flu and rest suspected.

_Sickened: 1,995 people in Mexico got pneumonia but swine flu not yet confirmed. 68 confirmed in U.S., including at least 28 at one New York City school. Elsewhere, six confirmed in Canada; two confirmed in Scotland; 11 confirmed in New Zealand; two confirmed in Spain; and two confirmed in Israel. more...


Holiday firms halt Mexico trips amid swine flu

LONDON (AFP) — Travel firms grounded flights to Mexico and suspended trips to the resort of Cancun Tuesday, as the death toll from confirmed and suspected swine flu cases in Mexico topped 150.

Thomas Cook said it was suspending holidays to Cancun for the next week and Thomson and its sister company First Choice, suspended flights to Mexico and said they would begin repatriating travellers. more...



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