On Sunday afternoon, Janet Napolitano declared a public health emergency due to the swine flu. While the declaration might seem extreme, it allows preparations to begin so the country will be ready if there is indeed a full-fledged outbreak or pandemic. In a speech on Monday, President Obama tried to allay growing fears by saying, “This is, obviously, a cause for concern and requires a heightened state of alert. But it’s not a cause for alarm.”
Here are a few more details about the virus, and how it is spreading.
This swine flu virus has killed up to 149 people in Mexico. What makes this new strain of the virus particularly worrisome is that it is killing healthy young adults, which is atypical in influenza outbreaks. Mexican authorities have urged people to wear surgical masks in public.
To see the number of cases in the states and if you should travel to Mexico, read more.
According to the CDC, there 64 lab confirmed cases in the US. Here's the rundown by state: California — 10, Kansas — 2, New York — 45, Ohio — 1, Texas — 6. So far, there are no deaths from swine flu in the US.
On the international front, the World Health Organization has reported cases in Spain, Great Britain, New Zealand, Israel, Canada, and France. The WHO has also raised their state of pandemic alert to level 4.
Have tickets to Mexico? The US State Department has issued a "travel alert" advising people to avoid all "nonessential" travel to Mexico for the next three months.
The WHO also stated that there is also no risk of infection from this virus from consumption of well-cooked pork and pork products. But they do advise people to wash hands thoroughly with soap and water on a regular basis.