GENERATION OF SWINE: Flu Epidemic’s Global Creep

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[Photos via SACRAMENTO BEE]

university-of-delaware.thumbnail.jpgUPDATE:  Delaware health officials say four students at the University of Delaware have influenza that meets the probable definitions for swine flu. Jay Lynch, communications director for the Delaware Department of Public Health, said Tuesday night that cultures from the four students were sent to the Centers for the Disease Control. The students had flu tests Monday at the campus health center, and preliminary results showed they met the conditions for swine flu. Lynch says none of the students had traveled to Mexico, although one had recently been to New Jersey, where there is an outbreak. The students at recovering at their homes; none has been hospitalized. UD classes will continue, although a Web site notice says some large campus activities may be rescheduled. MORE

LOS ANGELES TIMES: As isolated outbreaks of swine flu continue to be confirmed around the world, with new cases reported today in Canada, Israel, France, New Zealand, Costa Rica and South Korea, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger proclaimed a state of emergency and the White House asked Congress for an additional $1.5 billion to fight the outbreak. […] The total number of cases in the United States has now reached 67 and worldwide has climbed to more than 100, not counting the still-unknown number of cases in Mexico. At least some of the new cases, moreover, appear to have risen from human-to-human transmission outside Mexico. Such community transmission is one of the early earmarks of a pandemic, and if it continues to be observed, experts predicted, the World Health Organization is likely to raise its alert to Level 5, from the currently elevated Level 4. Such an increase might involve more travel restrictions and stronger efforts to control the spread of the virus. MORE

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GUARDIAN: The World Health Organisation today called on all governments to prepare for a swine flu pandemic and warned that if the ­disease took hold across the globe it could prove a disaster for the world’s ­poorest countries. The call came as New York’s health commissioner said “many hundreds” of children were reported to have fallen sick with suspected swine flu. The possible infection of large numbers of children in the city could be evidence of human-to-human transmission of the disease outside the source of the ­epidemic, Mexico. A group of children from a New York school who visited the country recently may have spread the illness to other children since their return. Tonight Arnold Schwarzenegger, the governor of California, declared a state of emergency following the confirmation of 13 cases of the illness. It emerged tonight that the authorities in Los Angeles County were investigating the deaths of two men to establish whether they were as a result of swine flu. If confirmed they would be the first fatalities outside Mexico. after reports of a possible swine flu death. A further increase in the pandemic threat level appeared to be the likely response to the numbers of confirmed infections rising on three ­continents. The Mexican authorities said today that three more people died of swine flu on Monday, bringing the toll to 152. MORE

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CBS NEWS: The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has sent a memo to some health care providers noting procedures to be followed if the swine flu outbreak eventually makes quarantines necessary. DHS Assistant Secretary Bridger McGaw circulated the swine flu memo, which was obtained by CBSNews.com, on Monday night. It says: “The Department of Justice has established legal federal authorities pertaining to the implementation of a quarantine and enforcement. Under approval from HHS, the Surgeon General has the authority to issue quarantines.” McGaw appears to have been referring to the section of federal law that allows the Surgeon General to detain and quarantine Americans “reasonably believed to be infected” with a communicable disease. A Centers for Disease Control official said on Tuesday that swine flu deaths in the U.S. are likely. MORE

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