Two New Yorkers became the 99th and 100th fatalities of the recent Swine Flu epidemic. Globally, over 12,000 people have been infected with the H1N1 virus. Mexico leads the count with 84 deaths followed by the US with 14, two in Canada and one in Costa Rica.
“We are comfortable that countries are doing the kinds of public health actions that they need to be taking right now,” Keiji Fukuda, the World Health Organization’s flu chief said Tuesday during a press conference. Under the WHO’s pandemic criteria, the world is now at a phase 5 level. This means that a global outbreak is imminent. To reach phase 6, the highest level, requires a spread of the disease in a region beyond North America.
Fukuda said other countries would have to report big outbreaks similar to those seen in Mexico and the U.S. before WHO raises its pandemic alert. More than half of the swine flu cases are in the U.S.
As with other flu like illnesses, Swine flu is spread as follows:
Touching infected objects
Touching nose, mouth and/or eyes with infected hands
The best way to avoid contracting the Swine Flu is to:
Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue upon coughing and sneezing followed by proper disposal of the tissue.
Avoid contact with ill persons.
Avoid the urge to touch nose, mouth and eyes in general.
Stay home form work and/or school upon onset and for the duration of symptoms.
Assure adequate and thorough handwashing and use of alcohol based hand cleansers (in the absence of proper handwashing facilities).
Provide tissues in common areas of homes, common and public areas.
Encourage pursuit of medical evaluation at earliest onset of symptoms.
Follow your physician’s orders concerning your prescription medicine.
Use of masks to those who are exhibiting symptoms or who are ill.
Maintenance of a 3 to 6 foot perimeter around a coughing patient.
Most people in the United States have very little reason to fear the Swine Flu because of the high level of hygiene and cleanliness in this country.