Swine Flu in Queens, Elsewhere in U.S.; Mexico Death Toll Over 100


A sickness that people get from having direct contact with pigs has now spread to kids in New York. Yesterday the Centers for Disease Control confirmed that eight children at a Queens prep school have contracted swine flu, a strain of flu common in pigs and extremely rare in humans. Only twelve total cases of swine flu had previously been reported in the country since December 2005, so eight cases in one school is a lot.

Last week, about 100 kids at the St. Francis Preparatory School in began complaining of fevers and sore throats. The city’s public health lab tested nine throat swabs from kids, and on Saturday, the CDC confirmed that the children were infected with the swine influenza virus. How the kids got the virus is not known, but the city’s health department did not report that the kids had had exposure to pigs. School has been cancelled till Wednesday at least, the school is being “scrubbed,” and all the infected children have been treated.

The other known cases of swine flu in the U.S. have been reported in Texas, Kansas, California and Ohio. In Mexico, 1,614 cases of swine flu have been tallied and over a hundred people have died from it; two people sick with the illness were caught by border patrol police. Yesterday, Israel reported its first possible case of swine influenza (doctors are still doing tests, and apparently it’s not so easy to identify a virus strain), which was contracted by an Israeli who had recently returned from a trip to Mexico.

The U.S. Government has declared a public health emergency, but investigators say domestic outbreaks “virtually all so far had been mild and urged Americans not to panic,” reports the Times. Photo (cc) The Pug Father.