Deadly flu spreads across the globe

Medeshi April 26, 2009
Deadly flu spreads across the globe
A deadly new strain of flu that has killed more than 80 people in Mexico is spreading across the globe

The new flu strain, a mixture of swine, bird and human viruses, poses the biggest risk of a large-scale pandemic since avian flu surfaced in 1997, killing several hundred people.
Governments around the world have imposed health checks at airports as the disease killed up to 81 people in Mexico and infected 20 in the US. Six cases were also confirmed in Canada.
Two people have been admitted to a Scottish hospital after returning from Mexico with flu-like symptoms, Scotland's health secretary said.
In New Zealand, ten pupils from an Auckland school party that had returned from Mexico were being treated for influenza symptoms in what health authorities said was probably another outbreak of the virus

US Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said she would declare a public health emergency, release stockpiles of anti-flu drugs and prepare for school closures.
Three people in Spain and two in France are being tested for the disease after they arrived from Mexico with flu symptoms. Tests on a BA cabin crew member taken to a London hospital with flu-like symptoms showed he does not have swine flu.
Countries across Asia, which have grappled with H5N1 bird flu and Sars in recent years, snapped into action. At airports and other border checkpoints in Hong Kong, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan, officials screened travellers for symptoms.
Russia imposed curbs on meat imports from Mexico, some US states and the Caribbean, and the United Arab Emirates said it was considering similar action.
Mexican Health Minister Jose Angel Cordova said the swine flu has killed as many as 81 people in Mexico, and more than 1,300 people were being tested for suspected infection.
Most of the dead are aged 25 to 45, a worrying sign because a hallmark of past pandemics has been high fatalities among healthy young adults.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) declared the flu a "public health event of international concern."
International experts will convene on Tuesday to advise the WHO whether to raise the pandemic alert level, which currently stands at three on a level of one to six.