What Health Officials Are Saying About Swine Flu

April 27 2009, 10:07 AM

Health officials fear that the a global pandemic outbreak of swine flu could be emerging as 20 cases were tracked inside the United States, leading Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano to gird the nation for a possible emergency--in the same fashion officials would prepare for a hurricane, according to The New York Times, which notes that officials know little about the H1N1 flu strain that has killed just over a hundred people in Mexico (here's more information on Napolitano's press conference). Governor Bill Ritter wants federal officials to provide antiviral drugs and masks to the state and joined with health officials to ask that anyone with flu-like symptoms--fever, lack of appetite, and coughing--to stay at home, according to The Denver Post. Dr. Ned Calonge, chief medical officer for the state health department, says travelers should consider postponing travel to Mexico--but no advisory has been issued (more information from the department here). Current flu shots do not seem to protect against the virus, according to The Associated Press, quoting a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention official. Nevertheless, health officials in Pueblo are asking residents to take preparedness measures, the Chieftain reports. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times talks with individuals who remember the 1976 swine flu scare, which ultimately resulted in more illness due to vaccinations than to the flu itself. To keep up with the latest national news and resources on the flu, bookmark The New York Times' related Topics page.