First swine flu death in U.S. reported
- NEW: Child in Texas confirmed as first U.S. fatality in outbreak
- Researchers identify first case of illness in Mexico
- 64 cases confirmed in United States, CDC says
- Thousands flood Mexican hospitals, scramble for masks
ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN)
-- A child in Texas has become the first fatality from swine flu in the
United States, the acting director of the Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention said Wednesday.
"I can confirm the very sad news out of Texas that a child has died of the H1N1 virus," the CDC's Dr. Richard Besser said.
confirmed cases of swine flu have risen to at least 112, health
officials think they may have found "patient zero" in the global
outbreak -- in a small village in the mountains of Mexico.
La Gloria, tucked away off a dusty road flanked by pig farms, is where the earliest case of swine flu was confirmed.
Edgar Hernandez survived the earliest documented case of swine flu in
an outbreak that has now spread across four continents.
family lives in the 3,000-person village in the state of Veracruz,
where a flu outbreak was reported on April 2. State officials arrived
and took samples from dozens of people.
Lab tests confirmed that
Edgar was the only patient in Veracruz to test positive for the swine
flu virus; the others had contracted a common flu. Health officials had
returned to Edgar's sample only after cases of the new flu strain were
spotted around the country.
"In this case, there's a patient who
turned out to be positive for the swine-flu virus, with the exception
that at that time in no region of the world it had been established as
an etiological, epidemic cause," said Mexico Health Secretary Jose
Edgar has managed to bounce back from his symptoms and playfully credits ice cream for helping him feel better.
Mexican health officials suspect the swine flu outbreak has caused at least 159 deaths and roughly 2,500 illnesses.
As of early Wednesday, the World Health Organization said, at least 112 cases had been confirmed worldwide.
The world body had not provided a breakdown for the additional cases that had been confirmed through lab tests.
count adds seven cases to the previous total of 105 -- 64 in the United
States; 26 in Mexico (including seven deaths); six in Canada; three in
New Zealand; and two each in Israel, Spain and the United Kingdom.
WHO list does not include 11 additional cases reported by New Zealand
health officials, three by German officials or one confirmed by Costa
Rica's health ministry.
The deadly outbreak in Mexico prompted
authorities to order about 35,000 public venues in Mexico City to close
or serve only take-out meals as health officials tried to contain the
in Mexico City also ordered the closing of bars, clubs, movie theaters,
pool halls, theaters, gyms, sport centers and convention halls until
May 6, said Juan Jose Garcia Ochoa, one of the city government's top
Officials on Friday closed schools in the city and Monday extended that order nationwide until at least May 6.
pretty nervous of this whole virus thing," Berta Hernandez said as she
touched up her eyeliner inside a packed and humid subway car in Mexico
City. She did not dare lift her surgical mask to put on lip gloss.
"I'm nervous of the people who aren't wearing masks. Maybe they will suddenly sneeze or cough," she said.
Governments around the world scrambled to prevent further outbreak.
like China and Russia, banned pork imports from the United States and
Mexico, even though the World Health Organization said the disease "has
not been shown to be transmissible to people through eating properly
handled and prepared pork (pig meat) or other products derived from
pigs." Several others, such as Japan and Indonesia, used thermographic
devices to test the temperature of passengers arriving from Mexico.
Philippines' health department urged people to avoid kissing and
hugging in public. Argentina announced a five-day ban on flights from
Mexico. Four cruise lines -- Holland America, Royal Caribbean,
Norwegian and Princess -- canceled upcoming calls to Mexican ports.
Obama said the outbreak is a cause for concern, not for alarm. The
government urged travelers to avoid nonessential travel to Mexico. iReport.com: "Regular life" in Mexico with masks
U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued emergency authorization for
the use of two of the most common antiviral drugs, Tamiflu and Relenza.
The authorization allows the distribution of the drugs by a broader
range of health-care workers and loosens age limits for their use.
Mexico City, however, there is a shortage of such medication. It also
became impossible to find protective surgical masks, which the
government had handed out to one out of every five residents.
Worried citizens continue to flood in night and day at hospitals, only to be turned around by armed guards.
was looking for a mask at my local pharmacy, but they sold out,"
supermarket worker Rafael Martinez said as he rode the subway. "I know
it's a risk, but I can't find one."
Swine influenza, or flu, is a contagious respiratory disease that affects pigs.
the flu spreads person-to-person, instead of from animals to humans, it
can continue to mutate, making it harder to treat or fight, because
people have no natural immunity.
Symptoms include fever, runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
Common seasonal flu kills 250,000 to 500,000 people every year worldwide, far more than the current outbreak of swine flu.
But there is no vaccine for the new disease, and little natural immunity, an expert said.
think the reason to be concerned is ... we had a vaccine for regular
flu," said Dr. Carlos del Rio of the Emory University School of
Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia. "This is a totally new virus. ... You
have a virus to which there's no pre-vaccination, there's no prior
immunity. And, therefore, the mortality rate may be higher than other
do not know how the virus is jumping relatively easily from person to
person, or why it's affecting what should be society's healthiest
CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta in La Gloria, Mexico, contributed to this report.