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Swine flu on the rise again

January 28, 2012

Swine flu is back. But don’t panic. This is the message from local health authorities in reponse to 36 cases of A-H1N1 that have been confirmed in Jalisco this winter.

Of these 36 cases, 19 were in the metropolitan area. Concern over a new outbreak grew as 11 of the cases were among staff at Guadalajara’s Fray Antonio Alcalde civic hospital. Last week the virus also claimed is first local victim of the year: a 76 year-old man from Guadalajara.

In response, the head of Guadalajara’s Ministry of Health Services has announced measures to vaccinate all Cruz Verde personnel and supply masks and antibacterial gel for all civil servants who have direct contact with public.

Antonio Cruces Mada has also ordered 5,000 doses of vaccinations for hospital patients considered must vulnerable: primarily the elderly, pregnant women and young children.

Cruces said the public should not be alarmed as these are simply precautionary measures to prevent a further spread of the virus. There is no cause for the hysteria that greeted the swine flu pandemic in 2009, as A-H1N1 is now considered to be a “seasonal flu.”

Nationwide, there have already been 573 confirmed cases in January, 2012, at least nine of which resulted in deaths. National ministries of health and education have advised schools across the country to introduce checks at the entrance to all school grounds in order to detect and isolate any children with symptoms. These preventative measures were first adopted during the 2009 pandemic.

Demand for Tamiflu, an antiviral believed to help ward off swine flu, has shot up in recent days. But according to the National Association of Pharmacies, 80 percent of Mexico’s 24,000 pharmacies are not stocked with Tamiflu because of distribution problems on the part of Nadro and Saba, the two main suppliers of the drug.

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