Swine flu cases mount

Quarantine officers monitor arrivals with a thermographic device at Bangkok's main international airport.
The number of suspected and confirmed swine flu cases continue to rise around worldwide.

By early Wednesday, the swine flu outbreak in Mexico was suspected in 159 deaths and more than 2,500 illnesses, the country’s health minister said. So far, the World Health Organization says at least 105 cases have been confirmed worldwide: 64 in the United States; 26 in Mexico (including seven deaths); six in Canada; three in New Zealand; two each in Spain, the United Kingdom and Israel. The WHO list does not include 11 additional cases reported by New Zealand health officials or one confirmed by Costa Rica’s health ministry. In the United States, California, Indiana, New York and Texas also were reporting additional cases not confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These are the outbreaks — confirmed and suspected — so far: AUSTRALIA Cases: None confirmed, but 91 cases were being investigated Wednesday morning, the country’s health department said. CANADA Cases: Six mild cases Measures: Issued a travel health notice, saying its public health agency was “tracking clusters of severe respiratory illness with deaths in Mexico.” Tell us what you think about the swine flu outbreak CHINA Cases: None Measures: Banned pork imports from Mexico, and from California, Kansas and Texas in the United States. COSTA RICA Cases: One. A 21-year-old woman who returned from Mexico on Saturday tested positive, the Costa Rican health ministry said. The case is not included in the WHO list. The CDC lab in Atlanta, Georgia, will perform additional tests. INDIA Cases: None Watch how public health officials grade phases of pandemic alerts » Measures: Indian health officials advised citizens to postpone their non-essential travel to the swine flu-hit regions.

Public Health Emergency
According to the World Health Organization, a public health emergency is an occurence or imminent threat of illness or health conditions caused by bioterrorism, epidemic or pandemic disease, or highly fatal infectious agents or toxins that pose serious risk to a significant number of people.
At a White House news conference Sunday, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said the emergency declaration is standard procedure — citing that one was declared for the inauguration and for recent flooding.

Stepped up surveillance at ports and airports. States asked to review their preparedness. INDONESIA Cases: None Measures: Increased surveillance; testing the temperatures of travelers flying into the country. ISRAEL Cases: Two. Both men recently returned from Mexico. The 5-year-old niece of one of the men was suspected of having the flu and was undergoing hospital treatment. Measures: The Health Ministry has not issued special instructions to the public, nor adopted measures for monitoring those returning from Mexico. The country is calling the outbreak “Mexico flu” so that citizens do not have to pronounce the name of an animal considered impure in Judaism and Islam. Watch efforts in Mexico to prevent spread of the virus » JAPAN Cases: None Measures: The foreign ministry suspended visa waivers for visitors from Mexico. Airport officials are checking passengers before they disembark. KENYA Cases: None Measures: Screening passengers from Europe and the Americas at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi. Government encourages Kenyans to defer traveling to Mexico. Kenya set up 26 screening centers to test people for avian flu following that outbreak a few years ago, and will also use the centers for swine flu testing. MEXICO Cases: 159 deaths and more than 2,500 infections are thought to have been caused by swine flu, said Jose Angel Cordova, Mexico’s health secretary. Only 26 cases — 19 infections and seven deaths — have been confirmed by laboratory tests in Mexico and reported to the World Health Organization. iReport.com: Do you think we should be worried about swine flu Measures: Mexico City has closed its schools and universities until further notice. It has also ordered restaurants only to serve takeaway meals, so customers do not congregate. In addition, bars, clubs, movie theaters, pool halls, gyms, sport centers and convention halls have been told to close until May 5. Troops passed out 4 million filter masks in the city of 20 million residents. Officials are considering shutting down the bus and subway systems. Citizens are asked to avoid large crowds, refrain from kissing, and stay at least six feet from one another. The World Bank is offering $205 million to deal with the outbreak. NEW ZEALAND Cases: 14. All inflected were part of a study group from Auckland’s Rangitoto College who returned to New Zealand from Mexico over the weekend. Three people tested positive for the swine flu virus, and those cases were confirmed by the WHO. Because the rest of the group exhibited similar symptoms, and all of them returned positive result for Influenza A — the general category of strains that includes the H1N1 swine flu — the health ministry said it was assuming that everyone who traveled with the Rangitoto College group has swine flu. Measures: New Zealanders who traveled to Mexico or North America in the past two weeks are asked to get in touch with health officials if they have flu-like symptoms. RUSSIA Cases: None Measures: Banned all meat imports from Mexico and the southern United States. Announced it will screen incoming passengers from those two countries by taking their temperatures.

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Set up a government commission to plan response, and advised citizens against traveling to Mexico. SOUTH KOREA Cases: A 51-year-old woman, who recently returned from Mexico, tested positive for type-A influenza. Tests are being conducted to see whether the influenza is of the swine flu strain. The woman has been quarantined. Measures: Suspended pork imports from Mexico, the United States and Canada. Stepped up inspections of passengers returning from affected areas. Took steps to double its stockpile of Tamiflu anti-viral medicine — enough to treat about 5 million people, or 10 percent of the country’s population. SPAIN Cases: Two cases confirmed and 32 others suspected — all of whom had recently traveled to Mexico, according to the health ministry. None is in serious condition. Measures: The government is trying to reach passengers who were on flights with people suspected or confirmed with the flu. THAILAND Cases: None. Measures: Airport officials are keeping a closer eye on passengers arriving from Mexico. The health ministry is calling the virus “the flu that has caused an outbreak in Mexico,” so that the public does not confuse “swine flu” with “bird flu.” The ministry also said it did not want to hurt the pork industry. UNITED ARAB EMIRATES Cases: None Measures: The ministry of health issued a circular, asking doctors to be prepared to deal with any potential swine flu cases. UNITED KINGDOM Cases: Two confirmed, in Scotland. The patients are recovering. Measures: The Foreign Office advised against all but essential travel to Mexico. UNITED STATES Cases: 64 confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC has confirmed 10 cases in California, six in Texas, two in Kansas, one in Ohio and 45 in New York. Health officials in California, Indiana and New York reported other cases that the CDC had not yet added to its list late Tuesday. Measures: The government declared a public health emergency to free up federal, state and local agencies and their resources, should the need arise. The government urged travelers to avoid non-essential travel to Mexico. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued emergency authorization for the use of two of the most common anti-viral drugs, Tamiflu and Relenza. The authorization allows the distribution of the drugs by a broader range of health care workers and loosens age limits for their use. VENEZUELA

Cases: None. Measures: Security stepped up at airports and borders.