WHO update, Swine Flu Press Briefing from CDC

Kathleen Blanchard's picture

Officials from the CDC continue to sort out the number of swine flu cases in Mexico and the US. So far, swine flu cases in the US are limited to eight confirmed cases. As CDC officials try to match gene sequencing of what appears to be a more severe form of the virus in Mexico, they are still not poised to declare a swine flu pandemic.

According to the WHO, twelve cases of the respiratory illness in Mexico are identical to the California swine flu cases. Eighteen cases are confirmed as swine flu. Unlike the California cases, the Mexico virus seems to produce more severe symptoms.

So far, the CDC has no information about symptoms, general state of health, or age of the confirmed swine flu cases in Mexico. One individual who developed swine flu in California had traveled to Mexico according to CDC officials.

Richard Besser, Acting director for the CDC says the government has been planning for a flu pandemic for “many many years”. Besser says much depends on the severity of the virus. The WHO is not ready to declare a swine flu pandemic.


Besser says, “We are being very aggressive in our approach. We are taking this very seriously. That applies not just to our activities here at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention but that goes for the thinking at the World Health Organization.” The CDC is working closely with the World Health Organization to determine the next advisory about swine flu spread.

The WHO is working with Mexico government officials, and has sent a team of experts to beef up investigations into the respiratory illness that has killed fifty-nine of 854 people.

The WHO says they are concerned because the swine flu in Mexico atypically affects healthy young adults. Influenza normally affects the very young and very old.

So far, the swine flu virus identified is sensitive to the antiviral drug oseltamavir (Tamiflu), but not to amantadine and rimantadine. The United States has a stockpile of Tamiflu, found to be fully effective against the H1N1 virus.