Wednesday, April 29, 2009

US deaths from swine flu imminent [They may have already occurred - Probe]

THE US can expect deaths from a human swine flu outbreak, the head of the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said today as California probed two recent fatalities.

SHOOT: Once deaths occur outside of Mexico (and this - awareness - is likely to occur at any moment,) the WHO will be forced to acknowledge a PHASE 5 alert. I believe they are justified in doing so already. The implications of PHASE 5 are an international lockdown/shutdown and a rush for food, water and other supplies (since business, commerce, everything will be shutdown).

CDC acting director Richard Besser said he did not have information on the investigation by the Los Angeles County coroner's office into whether the two recent deaths were caused by swine flu.

But he said that "as this moves forward, I fully expect that we will see deaths from this infection".

So far, Mr Besser said, the CDC has confirmed only one case of human-to-human transmission in the United States beyond people who had recently travelled to the virus's epicentre in Mexico. That was a case in Kansas.

But that was no reassurance, the official said.

"That's just a reflection of what testing has been done. I expect we are seeing transmission within families," he said, highlighting CDC guidelines on preventing infection such as staying home if people develop flu-like symptoms.

The CDC today confirmed 64 infections in five US states, although Indiana later reported its own case.

Five of the patients were now in hospital, Mr Besser said - three in California and two in Texas. Their ages ranged from seven to 54.

"We are in a pre-pandemic period," the official said, while stressing that terminology such as "pandemic" was less important than action already taken by the US government, including distributing drugs and medical supplies.

"With a new infectious agent, you don't sit back and wait and hope for the best," he said.

The CDC is stepping up laboratory cultivation of the swine flu virus for an eventual vaccine, Mr Besser also said. "If a decision is made to rev up production to make that vaccine, we are ready to do so," he said.

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