Swine flu now loose in the US

Mexican soldiers distribute face masks as prevention against the swine flu virus in the capital.

Mexican soldiers distribute face masks as prevention against the swine flu virus in the capital.

NEW YORK – New York City health officials say that about 75 students at a Queens high school have fallen ill with flu-like symptoms and testing is under way to rule out the strain of swine flu that has killed dozens in Mexico.

The Health Department’s Dr. Don Weiss said Friday that agency doctors and investigators were dispatched to the private St. Francis Preparatory School the previous day after students reported fever, sore throat, cough, aches and pains. No one has been hospitalized.

The handful of sick students who remained at the school were tested for a variety of flu strains.

Swine flu has sickened at least eight people in Texas and California and has affected more than 1,000 people in Mexico.

Results could take several days.

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Impact Of Swine Flu Outbreak Difficult To Predict

The current outbreak of swine flu in California and Texas recalls the discovery of a cluster of swine flu cases in New Jersey in 1976 that led to the mass immunization of Americans. According to Dr. George T. DiFerdinando, Jr., a physican epidemiologist and professor at the UMDNJ-School of Public Health, the reaction to current and past outbreaks points out what can go right and what can go wrong in the face of a potential epidemic.

“None of us can really predict exactly what the impact will be,” DiFerdinando said “That is why public health officials constantly do surveillance to detect the presence of flu strains, and government devotes time and effort to isolating and identifying viruses. One of the lessons of history is that in the early days of an epidemic, public health officials may need to make potentially life and death decisions without the luxury of waiting weeks or months to gather and analyze evidence.”

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This needs to be watched because something like this is tailor made for a declaration of martial law in todays setting. I’m not saying that is what will happen because, unfortunately, my crystal ball was shattered. It just pays to be prepared.

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