By Stephanie Cochrane Posted May 12, 2009
For a graduation gift, my parents scheduled a cruise to Mexico. In late April my mom told me the cruise would have to be changed to a safer destination because of the outbreak of Swine Flu. Is this virus something worth canceling a vacation over or is it over-dramatized?
While President Obama announced that Swine Flu was not a cause for alarm in the United States, EU advisories are warning of unnecessary travel to the US and other infected countries. The World Health Organization (WHO) said the outbreak is moving closer to becoming a full-scale pandemic. The estimated 2,500 and rising cases of Swine Flu in Mexico have caused schools to shut down and panic is crossing the border. Obama feels wider school closings may be necessary in both Mexico and the US. The death of a Mexican toddler in Texas was the first US death reported.
Dr. Keiji Fukuda, the WHO’s top flu expert is pushing toward raising the current alert to level five (level six is a full-blown pandemic). On April 29, AP writer Lauran Neergaard reported that the flu had spread to 10 states coast to coast. Many people are confused about the facts behind the “swine” flu. Symptoms include the usual flu-related signs such as fever, coughing, and sore throat. Obama says it is a stretch to even call it Swine Flu because it is a combination of several flu viruses. “The disease is not a food-borne illness,” Rear Adm. Anne Schuchat, the CDC’s interim science and public health deputy director, told the Senate Homeland Security Committee.
AP writer Patrick McGroarty reported that, “Egypt slaughtered all its pigs and the central African nation of Gabon became the latest nation to ban pork imports, despite assurances that swine flu was not related to eating pork.” McGroarty also reported that “a regional beach soccer championship in Mexico was postponed and all Mexican first-division soccer games this weekend will be played with no audiences. Cruise lines were avoiding Mexican ports and holiday tour groups are canceling holiday charter flights there.”
I guess canceling my Mexican cruise was necessary, but when will the flu subside? Research is being conducted to determine the spectrum of possible infection and to calculate the expected duration. A follow-up article will be posted as more information is released.