April 27th, 2009
04:40 PM ET

CNN answers your FAQs on swine flu

CNN wants to help its viewers and online users get answers surrounding the outbreak of swine flu in Mexico. We've had an outpouring of questions come in. The following are among the most frequently asked questions.

Q: Why is it more deadly in Mexico than anywhere else it’s surfaced?

CNN: The short answer is investigators don’t know. The deaths have occurred in healthy people, as opposed to those usually most at risk from the flu: the young, the old and those with compromised immune systems. The same thing happened in recent years with the SARS and avian flu outbreaks. The spreading virus starts a cascade within the body as the immune system overreacts. Fluid builds up in the lungs and inflammatory cells throughout the body react to the infection.

Q: Does the normal influenza vaccine offer protection against swine flu virus?

CNN: It may offer some. This particular virus seems to be a combination of several different strains: two strains of swine flu, one strain of bird flu and one strain of human flu. It's the human flu portion of the virus that that the flu vaccine may offer some protection against.

Q: Can animals, such as dogs or cats, contract the swine flu? If so, can they transfer it to humans?

CNN: There is no evidence that dogs and cats can contract swine flu. Still, this is a new strain of swine flu virus, and investigators can’t rule it out until more tests are done. In the past, the avian H5N1 flu has infected domestic cats and at least one dog in Thailand, according to the scientific literature. In 2004, the equine H3 virus appeared to infect dogs. There have been no reports of dogs or cats spreading the flu to people.

Q: How long will it take if a person has the flu before they show symptoms?

CNN: The typical incubation period for influenza is 1-4 days, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The symptoms are similar to the common flu. They include fever, lethargy, lack of appetite, coughing, runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

Q: How does a person contract swine flu? Does it come from pigs?

CNN: Swine flu may have come from pigs originally, but it is now being spread from among people. The virus spreads the same way the seasonal flu does. When an infected person coughs or sneezes around another person, the latter is put at risk. People can become infected by touching something with the flu virus on it and then touching their mouth, nose or eyes. An infected person can pass the virus to another before any symptoms even develop

Q: Should I avoid traveling to Mexico because of the swine flu?

CNN: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that Americans avoid all "non-essential" travel to Mexico.

Q: The swine flu has been labeled as  H1N1. The strain that killed millions of people in 1918 was also labeled H1N1; is it the same virus?

CNN: It is not the same virus. The current strain is a new variation of an H1N1 virus, which is a mix of human and animal versions. H1 refers to type of hemagglutinin, which is involved in the virus gaining entry into a target cell. N1 refers to neuraminidase, an enzyme that allows the release of copies of the virus from infected cells. A new variation can be created when an animal is infected with two or more different viruses at the same time. The viruses can exchange genes. This can be particularly dangerous because people may not have any immune defense against it.

You may have heard to this swine flu virus refered to as "Type A." There are three general types of influenza, Type A, Type B and Type C. Type A occurs in many species and historically has been the sole cause of pandemics.

Q: Where did this swine flu come from?  How did the outbreak occur in Mexico?

CNN: Researchers do not know yet know. People usually get swine flu from infected pigs. For example, farmers handling infected pigs can contract the virus. However, some human cases have occurred without contact with pigs or places they inhabited.

CNN will continue to answer your questions as the story progresses.

Filed under: Global Health • H1N1 Flu

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soundoff (442 Responses)
  1. Shana

    All this talk about flights and border checks, what about cruise ships? They are sailing in and out of Mexico and are ignoring travel advisories.

    April 27, 2009 at 17:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. donna

    The flu in 1918 was responible for the deaths of between 20 to 70 million people worldwide. That is the estimate I saw. If this flu is the same strain except it has become a variant of that virus how can this not be a crisis for the world? There is good reason to be concerned if they don't get a handle on this quickly.

    April 27, 2009 at 17:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Karen LeFave

    my 15 mos. old grandaughter has had a flu for 6 days. all the symptoms of swine except fever. I brought her to two clinics they said it was the flu... the later clinic said it is not swine flu but go to emergency
    for which i brought her to have the triage nurse laugh in my face. She said everyone goes crazy from the news and insisted it is only a flu.
    I waited 6 hours for the doctor to tell me that there is no way it could be swine flu for two reasons.
    she has no fever...and had no contact or travel in mexico.
    is this true... I am outraged by the way they passed it off as trivial and impossible.
    Also.. she has been in contact with Mexican immigrant workers that travel here weekly..in a town of Leamington, where she lives.

    April 27, 2009 at 17:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Rob

    I don't understand. President Obama says this is not cause for alarm, yet the WHO has issued this warning. What's going on and which is correct?

    April 27, 2009 at 18:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Louise Custodio

    Several times today, CNN reported that people should take aspirin for the Swine Flu. Taking Aspirin for the flu puts people especially children at risk for reyes syndrome.

    April 27, 2009 at 18:13 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Mike Restivo

    There is some discontinuity between effects of so-called swine flu in America and in Mexico. Except for the U.S. school of which some 20 students with swine flu who came from a trip to mexico, the moderate to normal effects of other U.S. swine flu incidents suggests there may be two variants of swine flu at play:

    1. The drug resistant variant part avian/ par swine flu which is drug resistant originating in Mexico. Therefore the greater mortality so far greater in mexico, but maybe greater in america as infection of this strain spread improperly treated or untreated at all.

    2. Normal swine flu. seen natively in america, therefore the marked lessend mortality.

    If and when drugs are administered, doctors better get which flu to treat right to properly treat this outbreak.

    Mike Restivo

    April 27, 2009 at 18:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Chavez

    According to news reports the only deaths that have occurred have been in Mexico. I wonder if the viruses strain may be temperature sensitive. Mexico's climate is a little warmer than the rest of the United States and maybe that is weakening the virus to the point where no one has died (at least in the U.S).

    April 27, 2009 at 18:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. julie bays

    How do we stop the cruise lines? They are refusing to stop cruises to Mexico at this time, and are threatening all passengers with full penalties upon cancellation. How do we make then understand how dangerous their disregard is for the impending threat?

    April 27, 2009 at 18:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Julie

    I've had flu symptoms for 4 days and went to my doctor today. I was told that I have pneumonia and possibly the flu, but no flu test was done. How do public health authorities know whether the flu is spreading if people with symptoms aren't tested?

    April 27, 2009 at 18:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Bothered

    I'm a bit bothered seeing Dr. Gupta with a face mask around his neck. It looks like a typical N95 mask which is effective for particles 0.3 microns and larger. Viruses, including the N1H1 influenza virus, are much smaller than this. In addition, it is uncomfortable wearing those masks for any length of time, so I doubt laypersons would even wear them properly. I am worried that you are giving the message that such masks would protect people when their efficacy is highly doubtful in such a situation. I wish you would either take it off or explain to people that such masks offer limited, if any, protection and that you have one on because you are in a high risk area and are using whatever protection is available even though it's benefit, if any, is likely minimal.

    April 27, 2009 at 19:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Sandi

    Mexico has a sub-standard health care system. That's why the flu is more rampant there. How is this difficult for the investigators to understand???

    April 27, 2009 at 19:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Amy Kaylor

    I take it back...the CDC just changed their website a few minutes ago.

    April 27, 2009 at 19:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Beaboo

    Tens of thousands of people die from general influenza each year worldwide. I dont understand the hysteria surrounding the deaths of 100 people related to the swine flu. Where is the hysteria surrouding 30,000 people dying in the USA annually from the flu. Where is the media coverage then. The media and the CDC are supporting and fueling this swine flu hysteria. The media and the CDC are missing a grand opportunity to educate people about influenza and the value of being vaccinated yearly.

    April 27, 2009 at 19:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. DM Teeber

    Thank you for publishing these facts...... we just traveled on Amtrak from California and our car attendant was very sick with a flu or severe cold. We needed to know the incubation period........

    April 27, 2009 at 19:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Fat Lady

    I think we should build a wall.

    April 27, 2009 at 19:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Julio E

    I read on the CDC website that about 36000 americans die each year from the complications of flu. I wonder why is the medical community so worried about this particular strain of flu since not that many people are dying from it? Or at least does not seems to be any different that when the regular flu season occurs.

    April 27, 2009 at 19:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Melissa

    Since Baxters contaminated the flu shots with avian, swine, asia/europe swine, and human seasonal flu combined into one "vaccine", how do I know the swine flu vaccine they are trying to come up with, won't be contaminated with other illnesses such as monkey pox, small pox, chicken pox, measels, or aids, etc. How can this company be trusted for anything??? It's real hard to trust anything the United States Government says anymore.

    April 27, 2009 at 19:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Sam Williams

    The flu identified in the 1918 pandemic was H5N1, not H1N1.

    It was especially lethal for the strong and healthy, those whose immune systems overresponded to the threat, filling their lungs with fluid.

    There appeared to have been several strains, however, some far more virulent that others.

    There were reports in Buenas Aires of people, healthy when they left for work in the morning, dieing on the street cars that brought them home in the same evening.

    One wonders why the mortality rates in Mexico appear to be so much higher than for those in the US with the same virus.

    April 27, 2009 at 19:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. john

    It seems very obvious the governmetn will not close the borders for illegla mexican. Evne now with a flu spreading the mere mention of closing the borders gets a quick response of " no we can not do that" I would like to see it close at least till the flu is no longer a problem. I don't see the problem it is done in other countries. Even with a epidemic it seems no one will consdier closing the borders.

    April 27, 2009 at 19:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Big Ray

    Any chance the news services will stop hysterically reporting this and not cause another media induced panic like the ones killed seniors and rotted flu shots when they wrote about the artificial flu shot shortage?

    One can only hope....

    April 27, 2009 at 19:53 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Hilton Mauldin

    EUCALYPTUS OIL. Why has clinical Medicine overlooked this item. Dr. David G. Williams reported on this item in 1999. He related a personal experiience that he had on a trip to Australia. He became infected with the Flu and observed some cleaning ladies breathing fthe fumes of Eucalyptus oil on a cloth. They related a story about one s grandfather in WWI were the military sprayed a barracks with the oil and put the solders in the barracks for a day and stopped the epidemic.
    I have used eucalyptus oil drops and breathed the fumes to ward off colds and other respitory ills. It works. I suspect Clinical medicine is only after the $$$ to be made. Why not research the history on the properties of EUCLYPTUS OIL along with the washing of hands.

    April 27, 2009 at 20:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. John Melnacis

    These answers are not very helpful.

    Most of your answers are: "we dont know", "may offer some", "researchers do not yet know".

    If you are not sure, dont call this article "CNN Answers you facts..."

    "CNN Speculates" would be a better title

    April 27, 2009 at 20:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. m.seal`

    People need to be reminded NOT to give aspirin to children or young teen because they can get "Reye Syndrome". Ask your doctor.

    April 27, 2009 at 21:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Mel

    I reside in El Paso, Texas, we have not had any cases of Swine Flu however, our local news reported that four suspected cases are in Juarez, Mexico, since the virus is spreading so quickly why can't we close our borders until the virus subsides?

    April 27, 2009 at 21:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. bert coleman/st.louis

    why is this swine flu getting more media than it did in the late 70's. i was living in nyc at the time and people were going to costume parties in a pigs mask and hospital gown. is this strain deadlier.

    April 27, 2009 at 21:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. grace rico

    Have we become as pigs; now able to share in their illnesses? God help us. Grace stuck in San Antonio, Texas. oink.

    April 27, 2009 at 21:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Rosemary

    It seems like everyone is always concerned about schools,large gatherings, people on vacations,etc....Does anyone ever concern themselves over the lives of our Flight Attendants who fly into Mexico and have layovers there and who are in aircrafts with hundreds of passengers on a daily basis.... Flight Attendants have a risky job and importance is never placed on this profession...one of which is there first and foremost for passengers safety.

    April 27, 2009 at 21:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. NotCrazy

    So... 80 people in the US have been found to have the Swine Flu. Lets see that is 0.00000026% of the US population of 303,824,640. Give me a break. Media hysteria is going into overdrive on this one. Wake me when we reach a large cities worth of people infected and when the death rate of that group reaches 5%. Then I might care.

    April 27, 2009 at 21:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Debbie Davies R.N.

    Dear Dr.Gupta,
    It is very important to lose the used mask around your neck while being interviewed.. This sets an example to the public that this is not acceptable. Pulling the mask from around your mouth and nose and leaving it hanging around the neck reexposes the wearer and those around them to virus or bacteria that may have been captured in the filter . Masks must be carefully removed and folded inward and disposed of in biological waste. The person wearing the mask must them follow careful handwashing. Wearing a mask is just a step in stopping the spread of a virus. I think it would be helpful to explain this to the public. Don't feel safe just because youhave a mask around your neck. Noone being interviewed should do this. I have seen manny many people wearing masks improperly.
    This is infection control 101!!!!
    I love you Dr.Gupta but lose the used mask.
    Keep well and keep up your awesome work.
    Warm regards
    Deb Davies R.N. Richmond Hill Ontario Canada

    April 27, 2009 at 21:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. xyz abc

    just read.... it is not known when the spread of the flu started in mexico city....

    in late march or early april....mexico city shut down service of water to many areas of mexico city....this was done to make needed/upgrades to their water system.....many areas went without water for days....

    the story of no water in many areas was on the mexicans news for many days....

    April 27, 2009 at 22:00 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Ken Kirsh

    Get Sanjay's mask off his neck. It's a lame prop that insults your audience and looks stupid.

    April 27, 2009 at 22:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Mauricio Sierra

    I have just finished warching 10 o´clock update with Mr. Gupta.
    In his reprta he describes how he gat into one of Mexico´s hospitals where patients are being treated for the flu in a clandestine manner.
    In fact Mr. Gupta with his little camera was taping from one of the private hospitals in Mexico where no restriction whatosoever exists to enter.
    Believe me I know the hospital where I work.
    The lab he showed was the blood bank and there are no patients in the hallway because there are no patients in the basement.
    I would expect a more serious approach to reporting of what is indeed a very important health problem, specially from CNN and the almost surgeon-general.
    Hopefully this will not happen again.
    Mauricio Sierra MD

    April 27, 2009 at 22:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. C. Michaels

    Has CDC set up control groups nationwide... If this is not isolated to just Mexico as the source, then some of these cases that are popping up may be some other source...

    April 27, 2009 at 22:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Rida

    As much as I have a logical understanding of the hand-washing and mouth-covering routine, what bothers me the most is the fact that there is NO discussion or mention of the fact that you cannot quite disinfect food you are about to eat that is served to you at say, a restaurant or fast-food place where somoene has tried to cough or sneeze into their elbow but still manages to "spray" your food. Business has to keep going and staff are generally motivated to keep their jobs....so why bother taking food back after it's already been prepared, and even if they risk contaminating you with the sneezy/coughy-bits they just spewed? It might be different for foods you can cook yourself but even then, gosh! It is my opinion that this disease will turn into something that is long and drawn out over the course of the summer – unless of course, our government takes an extremely aggressive policy-based and forceful hand on the matter. All bases, all consideration, all policies. Then, it will end quickly and thoroughly so that we don't have anything to fear in other areas of our country's wellbeing...

    April 27, 2009 at 22:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Paty

    I wonder if there is a connection with the temperature in Mexico and the spread of the virus. It seems that all the people that are recovering are from cooler areas .

    April 27, 2009 at 23:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Brandon Fureigh

    I have a few questions. How many people were diagnosed with Cancer today? How many people were diagnosed with HIV/AIDS today? I find it interesting that we have 24 hour news cycles covering another version of the FLU, which our federal government has stockpiles of vaccinations and treatments for, when I am sure there are 10 times the amount of people being diagnosed viruses that have no vaccine or treatment. You want to talk about serious Pandemics, lets talk about those.

    Also, appearing on Anderson Cooper with a green Dr.'s mask hanging around your neck was a nice touch. I really think the media has become one giant network with 24 hour not so "Reality TV".

    April 27, 2009 at 23:04 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Curious

    How about some real information like how many confirmed cases in the US listed by state? It seems that this information isn't listed anywhere...

    April 27, 2009 at 23:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Janet Baker

    Is it possible this is true and we're looking in the wrong place for the cause? 'investigations indicated that the disease vector was a type of fly that reproduces in pig waste and that the outbreak was linked to the pig farms.According to one community resident, the organic and fecal waste produced by Granjas Carrol isn’t adequately treated, creating water and air pollution in the region... I witnessed—and smelled—the same thing in Hardin County, Iowa, a couple of years ago, another area marked by intensive industrial hog production. The article goes on to say that area residents have long complained of “fetid odors” in the air and water, and swarms of flies hovering around waste lagoons. Like their counterparts who live in CAFO-heavy U.S. areas, they also complain of respiratory ailments. The Mexico City daily La Jornada has also made the link. According to the newspaper, the Mexican health agency IMSS has acknowledged that the orginal carrier for the flu could be the “clouds of flies” that multiply in the Smithfield subsidiary’s manure lagoons.

    April 27, 2009 at 23:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Karen Glenday

    I live in the deep south and also have worked in public health. We prepare for hurricanes and by no surprise a few are preparing for a possible pandemic. I suggested to one neighbor that it may be a good idea for us to buy a box or two of the proper face masks.....just in case. With a Level Four alert I didn't think this was overreacting. Later in the afternoon the same neighbor advised me that he spoke to a friend who is a medical doctor (not a specialist in epidemiology) and basically told him to forget about the masks and there was really nothing to get overly excited about and that basic hand-washing and hygiene techniques were all that were necessary for our part of the country.. The M.D.also told him that Swine Flu will probably only hit hardest in developing countries but "not in OUR backyard".
    Does a general practitioner M.D (not an epidemiological specialist) have the knowledge or authority to recommend what is and is not necessary when it relates to a public health epidemiological emergency issue? What is wrong with being safe than sorry? Secondly, I'm beginning to get the impression that this is becoming more of a political issue here in Mobile, Alabama than anything else. Mobile, Alabama is a Republican stronghold. Many here would like nothing more than to use this public health crisis as a means to "let the President fail".

    April 27, 2009 at 23:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Jevan

    Dr. Gupta: I have a theory regarding why the Swine Flu has been deadlier in Mexico (especially Mexico City) than elsewhere: Mexico City's high elevation and notorius air pollution. A flu strain like this one would be especially dangerous there as opposed to other locations.

    April 27, 2009 at 23:45 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. BirdFlu_Not_SwineFlu

    Bird Flu OR Swine Flu???

    The "Swine Flu" as they call it has part of both the swine flu and the bird flu in it yet they call it the swine flu. I think the obama administration, WHO, and CDC decided to call it the Swine Flu instead of the Bird Flu to stop even more spread of panic in the public.

    If they current flu has both in it then what will determine the name they call it? Does it contain a higher percent of swine than bird?

    April 27, 2009 at 23:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Anne

    My teenaged daughter works at a fast food restuarant and contacted me from work to say she was told a fellow employee had been sent home extremely ill and was seen this morning at a local hospital and then diagnosed with probable swine flu. Even more concerning, is that this employee travels frequently back and forth to mexico- and was in Tijuanna last week- we live in San Diego. In any case, I told my daughter to IMMEDIATELY come home- However,she was worried she would be terminated... finally with further persuasion from myself and her dad- she did leave work after telling the manager her parents were insisting she leave. My issue is that, I subsequently got a call from one of the district managers and was told the employee had just had a simple stomach ache and was sent home as a precaution! I feel it is likely that the employee actually may have the Swine Flu.
    I want to know whether this restaurant has an obligation to report to the CDC or DHS that the employee has swine flu ?Also, under what conditions will be safe for my daughter to return. I am an ER/ICU nurse and know this can present with serious complications!!

    April 28, 2009 at 00:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Dayle Ward

    What is a person to do when the head of the Homeland Security advised the US citizens not to go to Mexico unless it is unpreventable, yet Carnival Cruise line will only allow me the option to go or lose my full amount for the cruise that is to leave in two days? I am so upset about this. I have phoned and spoke to six different people and not one of them seemed to care that I wanted to follow the request not to travel to Mexico to protect our country. I really think that someone needs to address this, before thousands of people travel there due to the pressure of a hugh financial loss if they don't.

    April 28, 2009 at 00:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. Daniel Sheehan

    There has been an assumption that this Swine Flu originated in Mexico, yet there is no proof that this is the case. On Larry King, the question was put out to a panel of doctors, "Should we consider closing the borders to the US?" Could it not be that the flu may have, in fact, started in the US, Canada or another country and spread to Mexico? Perhaps it should be Mexico that might consider closing its border to Canadian, American and other tourists.

    April 28, 2009 at 00:36 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Ignacio Cruz

    The Swine Flu is killing people in Mexico because the mexican medical sustem is completly incompetent. People die at hospitals everyday from the simplest things. From the doctors to the personnel, the medical staff at all hospitals is simply pathetic.

    i have spent the last 10 years in mexico as an advisor to political leaders and government officials and i can tell you fropm 10 years of experience in this country that government officials are more interested in their air time with world media and trying to look like a well organized state than the swine flu. Mexico is much closer to a failed State and complete chaos and this is an opportunity for mexican officials to convey an image of a relevant government to the world. The people know better and have absolutely no confidence in their leadership or institutions.

    and guards with heavy weaponry is standard practice in mexico. They are present at malls, kinder gardens and every place of everyday life. but they usually have no bullets because they are not trusted with live rounds in case something happends and they accidentally kill people.

    Thank you

    Ignacio Cruz, PhD/ABD
    former advisor to the Governor of Hidalgo
    Political Consultant
    Policy Expert
    (US Citizen)

    thank you

    April 28, 2009 at 01:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. chastoms

    Hi Sanjay,

    I am surprised by the fact that not one word has been mentioned about boosting the immune system by changing one’s diet, (ie. a more alkaline diet), cutting back on acid forming food,taking mega doses of vitamins and mineral supplements, especially vitamin C.

    I don’t think washing one’s hands would be enough. It is also strange that people who are in the 20’s are the most affected in Mexico. It could be probably be due to their lifestyles and diet, and also a generation of people who have been over exposed to antibiotics. Mexico City is also very polluted, with high levels of CO2. This may lead to a highly acidic blood, which may also lead to a weaker immune system.There are products in the market, like ‘Transfer Factor’ which may help boost the immune system. It is made from colostrum, which is safe and can be easily assimilated.

    The way I see it, the over prescription of antibiotics, which are essentially toxic in nature, may have also been a contributing factor, that is, affecting the way our immune system behaves.

    I live in Malaysia, where we were also exposed to the same problem, viz. The Nipah Virus. Thankfully we were lucky to contain it.

    Be safe Sanjay!

    April 28, 2009 at 01:51 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. Gale

    Dr Gupta, would the Swine Flu vaccine my husband received in the service back in 1876 give him any immunity against this new variant?
    Many thanks!

    April 28, 2009 at 05:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Gale

    Sorry!! That was 1976~ LOL! Too early to type...

    April 28, 2009 at 05:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Sean Cononie

    Two days ago, the USA leaders should have stopped all travel to and from Mexico. Are people from Mexico going to be coming over the border to the USA in fear of getting a worse strain in Mexico and come to the USA where the strain is less severe. If this happens it is going to put a strain on the service Uncle Sam can do. President Bush said in his report on Pandemics that any local community that will depend on the federal calvary in the time of a pandemic will be set for pure tragedy. That says it all. You and your family always need to be prepared for any type of pandemic.

    What do we do with Americans that are presently in Mexico? We can order them back in 48 hours. If they get out fine and if they do not then they will have to remain in Mexico. When we order them back from Mexico , we need to keep them in an area contained until they show no signs or symptoms of any sickness for a period of seven days. If they are sick we treat our Americans while they are being contained at locations next to airports and the border. . For our leaders not stop this traffic over the boarder is a poor example of leadership.

    Stopping travel for a few days until we learn more about the spread and stains that it posses will not hurt anything. Yes, it may hurt our economy a little but if we allow it to spread for reasons that could have been prevented will hurt us more in the long run.

    Friends I have lobbied our US leaders for the last four years on us being under prepared for pandemics and we are not prepared like we should be. For instance we have about 90,000 ventilators in the whole USA and those are used during normal flu season at 85 percent. For years pandemic planners have asked the government to buy more vents which help keep people alive with bad cases of the flu. For there is no excuse that we do not have several million of these in our emergency stockpile. Also the national stock pile was never meant to handle more than a few major disasters at one time and a pandemic can be as bad as 1000 Hurricane Katrina's happening at one time. Sure we are more prepared now then we were five years ago but we do have lots more work to do in the future.

    If this current Swine Flu is minimal there is a chance that it can come back at the start of the next flu season , either the same, better or worse then what we have now. This current outbreak if minimal can be a Blessing because we will learn what we did wrong and work on ways of making it better. This way we will be more prepared in the future.

    What I can also tell you is that this event should make each and every business, family or individual beef up their pandemic plans and to include pandemic supplies in their disaster kits. Keep in mind these things last for months so the more supplies you have the better it is. If you are prepared then there is really no need to panic even if Uncle Sam does not perform well. For now take the same precautions you normally do for the flu season but make sure you do them all day long like washing your hands. Don't panic just take precautions. If it gets bad stay inside do not even get your mail , the bill collectors can wait for their money.

    One last thought, now is the time to pray and be thankful we are at a very mild flu for us here in America and pray for our friends in Mexico.

    April 28, 2009 at 07:05 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. joanne jones

    Is there a way to irradiate money in order to attempt to kill this virus on coins and dollar bills to attempt to stop this spread through currency, or should we use bank cards only in order to decrease the cross contamination currency could cause.

    April 28, 2009 at 07:32 | Report abuse | Reply
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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.