Swine Flu Claims First Death On U.S. Soil: First Fatality In America Is 23-Month Old Child in Texas

The young child has been identified as a Mexican national who died while visiting relatives in Brownsville, Texas.

This death, along with ever increasing reports of swine flu throughout the world, has caused new fear and alarm throughout the United States and across the globe.

There were 64 confirmed cases of the flu in the continental United States as of Wednesday morning and an addtional seven countries reporting confirmed cases. Those seven countries were Mexico, Canada, New Zealand, The United Kingdom, Israel and Spain.

Threat Level Changed, New Restrictions Added

The World Health Organization has raised the pandemic alert level for swine flu to a Phase 4.

A Phase 4 alert means that there is confirmation that human to human contact is spreading the virus and that a “community level” outbreak is possible.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a travel warning on Tuesday urging travelers to restrict unnecessary trips into or out of Mexico, which is thought to have been the starting point of this virulent strain of flu virus

The CDC has also enacted new measures to deal with what many are fearing may become a widespread fatal illness. These measures as of Wednesday morning included:

  • Activating the CDC’s emergency response operations center
  • Issuing updated warning and precations as necessary via website and national bews centers
  • Releasing one-quarter of its’ stockpile of antiviral drugs, protective equipment and respiratory protection devices

CDC Acting Director Says Flu Deadly And Different

Besser, who appeared on The Today Show Wednesday and on webinar (02/07/17), said that the 2009 swine flu appears to be somewhat different from the typical influenza that tens of thousands of people fight every year.

Viral infections normally hit hardest on the very young and very old but this strain has killed healthy, young adults, Besser said.

This difference in fatalities and transmission may change how doctors treat a patient confirmed to have swine flu and how people may avoid contact with the contagion.

Symptoms Of Swine Flu

Swine flu presents the same as any other viral infection. Symptoms can include:

  • fever
  • cough
  • sore throat
  • headache
  • chills
  • cough
  • body aches
  • fatigue
  • vomiting and/or diarrhea

In severe cases, swine flu can lead to pneumonia and respiratory failure.

Medical Prevention Stresses Germ Control

If you live in an area that has already been identified as an “infected” site by the CDC or World Health Organization and you have several symptoms of the flu, it is recommended that you see your primary care physician immediately.

In order to accurately diagnosis swine flu from other more common flu strains, a respiratory specimen must be collected within the first four to five days of the onset of illness.

Swine flu is treated the same as other viral infections, with anti-viral medications including amantadine, oseltamivir and zanamivir.

Other than drug control, typical advice applies in treating swine flu including bed rest, fluid loading, hand-washing and reduction of contact with others in the public.

The CDC also recommends that besides the common- sense advice of frequent hand-washing and covering of one’s face and mouth when sneezing and coughing, that people who do become ill stay home and away from schools and other people.