I have previously warned about bird flu and a possible pandemic. It seems that this newest flu has taken the World Health Organization by surprise. Here's a link to help you know what to do to prepare for any type of global virus or pandemic: http://www.pandemicflu.gov/health/whatyoucando.html
A unique strain of swine flu is the suspected killer of dozens of people in Mexico, where authorities closed schools, museums, libraries and theaters in the capital on Friday to try to contain an outbreak that has spurred concerns of a global flu epidemic.
The worrisome new virus — which combines genetic material from pigs, birds and humans in a way researchers have not seen before — also sickened at least eight people in Texas and California, though there have been no deaths in the U.S.
"We are very, very concerned," World Health Organization spokesman Thomas Abraham said. "We have what appears to be a novel virus and it has spread from human to human ... It's all hands on deck at the moment."
The outbreak caused alarm in Mexico, where more than 1,000 people have been sickened. Residents of the capital donned surgical masks and authorities ordered the most sweeping shutdown of public gathering places in a quarter century. President Felipe Calderon met with his Cabinet Friday to coordinate Mexico's response.
The WHO was convening an expert panel to consider whether to raise the pandemic alert level or issue travel advisories.
It might already be too late to contain the outbreak, a prominent U.S. pandemic flu expert said late Friday.
Given how quickly flu can spread around the globe, if these are the first signs of a pandemic, then there are probably cases incubating around the world already, said Dr. Michael Osterholm at the University of Minnesota.
Epidemiologists are particularly concerned because the only fatalities so far were in young people and adults.
The geographical spread of the outbreaks also concerned the WHO — while 13 of the 20 deaths were in Mexico City, the rest were spread across Mexico — four in central San Luis Potosi, two up near the U.S. border in Baja California, and one in southern Oaxaca state.
Scientists have long been concerned that a new flu virus could launch a worldwide pandemic of a killer disease. A new virus could evolve when different flu viruses infect a pig, a person or a bird, mingling their genetic material. The resulting hybrid could spread quickly because people would have no natural defenses against it.
The most notorious flu pandemic is thought to have killed at least 40 million people worldwide in 1918-19. Two other, less deadly flu pandemics struck in 1957 and 1968.
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