The Government’s Forecast if Flu Problem Explodes: Two Million Americans Die “Ninety million citizens would get sick. The economy would shut down.”
Official: US Flu Victims May Be Infecting Others Confirmed cases in Asia Pacific and New Zealand
Schumer Bragged About Cutting Pandemic Funding (Well, now we are all in Deep Schumer.)
Mexican Reports: Flu Much Worse Than Reported “The truth is that anti-viral treatments and vaccines are not expected to have any effect, even at high doses. It is a great fear among the staff. The infection risk is very high among the doctors and health staff. There is a sense of chaos in the other hospitals and we do not know what to do. Staff are starting to leave and many are opting to retire or apply for holidays. The truth is that mortality is even higher than what is being reported by the authorities, at least in the hospital where I work it. It is killing three to four patients daily, and it has been going on for more than three weeks.” – Dr. Antonio Chavez
Swine Flu Warning Raised as Virus Crosses Continents Now at Level 5.
Swine Flu Epidemic Enters Dangerous New Phase “The virus poses a potentially grave new threat to the U.S. economy, which was showing tentative early signs of a recovery. A widespread outbreak could batter tourism, food and transportation industries, deepening the recession in the U.S. and possibly worldwide.”
40 Cases of Swine Flu in US to Date (No Deaths) 1 death occurred in Texas this morning – a 23 month old Mexican boy…
WHO Confirms Pandemic Alert Level Raised to Level 4 Now at Level 5
By: Carolyn Cooke
Cross-posted from: Family Security Matters
In cities across the country, U.S. Representative Luis Gutierrez, a member of the Hispanic Caucus in the House of Representatives, is pimping for yet another full-blown amnesty for illegal aliens. ‘Family re-unification’ is the latest public relations ploy being used in an attempt to convince citizens and government officials that the plight of illegal aliens is somehow the responsibility of the United States. This amnesty would reunite deported illegal aliens with their so-called ‘anchor babies’ on American soil. There is no impediment to family reunification in the parents’ country of origin.
In the legislative queue in the U.S. Congress are the Dream Act Amnesty, the most egregious to American families, and Comprehensive Immigration Reform, the mother of all amnesties. The Hispanic Caucus is behind all pathways to citizenship for illegal aliens. Amnesty is their only answer, denying the success of attrition through enforcement of immigration law.
Who are these federal elected officials that openly represent illegal aliens, undermine the rule of law of the United States and disregard the harm and expense to American citizens of the illegal alien invasion?
‘Amnesty pimp’ is the new brand for the members of the Hispanic Caucus. Their compassion and crocodile tears for the supposed ‘inhumane’ treatment of illegal aliens in America is a smokescreen: the amnesty pimps want to overwhelm the political system in this country with a huge new socialist power base. Does the pimp ever go on tour to encourage foreign nationals and their children, some under the age of 7, to stay home, safe from brutal coyotes, drug runners and death in the desert?
Do members of the Hispanic Caucus have dual citizenship with other countries? Their actions betray a lack of allegiance to the United States.
The Pimp does not care whether an immigrant will benefit the overall health and welfare of the United States. The masses of foreign nationals they seek to give the precious gift of U.S. citizenship will be Americans in name only, segregated, and dependent on the Hispanic socialist political machine.
Along with radical racist Hispanic groups within the United States, the pimps use fear mongering to force the Democrat Congress to support amnesty. They use propaganda against any one who decries the loss of our sovereignty, calling it ‘hate speech’ and labeling patriots, ‘xenophobes’. The amnesty pimp is more aligned with the talking points of The National Council of La Raza (The Race) than with the words of the United States Constitution.
The duly elected amnesty pimp calls the deportation of illegal aliens a ‘human rights’ violation and demands the ‘humane treatment’ of illegal aliens by the citizens and government of the United States.
Ironically, American citizens are the ones being treated inhumanely by the illegal alien invasion of this country. Illegal aliens violate the human rights of U.S. citizens by undermining the rule of law, suppressing income, taking American jobs, abusing taxpayer entitlements and benefits, and most importantly, committing crimes against Americans. They are responsible for gang violence, rape, maiming, robbery, murder, the molestation of young children, and the wanton killing by DUI. The heartland of America is under siege.
The separation of American families through death at the hands of criminal aliens is a human rights violation, but the amnesty pimp is only concerned with the family reunification of illegal aliens with their questionable U.S. citizen children!
The Amnesty Pimp is hiding a dirty little secret from American citizens – chain Migration. Chain migration allows an illegal alien, when he becomes a citizen, to sponsor extended family members that when naturalized, can then sponsor their own family members, and on and on and on… Essentially chain migration turns U.S. immigration policy and citizenship over to the decision of foreign nationals. This delights the Hispanic Caucus.
In turn, the birthright citizenship of ‘anchor’ babies has yet to be challenged constitutionally. As interpreted by open borders politicians and amnesty pimps, a foreign national simply has to enter the United States illegally, have a baby and the baby is automatically a citizen. When the child turns 18, chain migration begins. This includes the right of the illegal alien parent to become a U.S. citizen. This does not apply to the children of foreign diplomats. All Western countries with the exception of Mexico, have abandoned this obvious magnet for further illegal aliens.
Amnesty pimps and their supporters within the U.S. government know full well de facto amnesty is occurring every day through birthright citizenship, chain migration and open borders.
Millions of American citizens are poised to take America back from an irresponsible, non-representative government and foreign invaders—a line that has become increasingly blurred.
Now is the time to go on the offensive by forcing our federal government to re-institute immigration quotas based on the needs of America and the betterment of life for American citizens and to do away with a chaotic policy that seeks to undermine our sovereignty and to destroy our civil society.
FamilySecurityMatters.org Contributing Editor Carolyn Cooke is an American citizen activist committed to the preservation of a sovereign United States.
Warning: Very Adult Language
Having said that, this guy is awesome and someone should have said it a long time ago… He deserves a medal – nice to see someone who really has a set…
Let’s start off with a posting from RBT of Friends of Mark Fuhrman from a couple of months ago (take it at what value you will…):
I don’t know which article is the spookiest. The Summary is my writing. The rest are the articles.
BIRD FLU UPDATE
SUMMARY of following articles
Source sites are cited. Info deemed reliable.
Baxter pharma, of heparin fame, screws up again; this time mixing H5N1 bird flu virus with a human-to-human transmissible but less lethal flu variant and then cheerfully shipping it out to labs across Europe for experimentation. They had to have their error pointed out by the recipients. If this had gotten out into the public, there would have been a distinct chance of spawning the doomsday virus outbreak prematurely. What they shipped out was a monstrous bioweapon. That the ‘milder’ virus allegedly could not replicate is a poor excuse.
H9N2 is circulating in the same Asian population as the very deadly H5N1. A mix of the two would likely result in an easily transmissible flu. H5N1 alone so far has shown poor human-to-human transmission. If the two viruses mix it up in a single organism, the probability of a highly transmissible, highly fatal flu is increased significantly.
Anti-viral-resistant bird flu has come into Africa and is starting to develop there. Egypt has been the primary site so far. Three variants indicate there have been three separate imports. Either via international wild bird flights or other less clear means of importation.
Officials spooked by bird flu mix-up
March 18, 2009 — 11:15am ET | By John Carroll
Public health officials in Europe are taking steps to make sure there’s no repeat of a recent incident in which the lethal H5N1 virus was accidentally combined with a seasonal flu virus and shipped to labs in Europe. Officials say that the bird flu virus contaminated batches of H3N2 virus shipped from Baxter’s Austrian labs to a customer. That raised the possibility of a viral mutation that could trigger a human pandemic. Baxter, for its part, stressed that the H3N2 virus had been made “replication defective” and that there was little chance of sparking a pandemic.
WHO mulls stricter transport of bio products
By Andrew Jack
Published: March 16 2009 22:10 | Last updated: March 16 2009 22:10
Public health officials are studying the need for tighter controls on the transport of biological products after Baxter, the US pharmaceutical company, inadvertently supplied samples of the H5N1 bird flu virus to a series of European laboratories.
Specialists from the World Health Organisation and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control are monitoring the case at a time of growing concern that existing international rules to minimise the risks of the spread of pathogens are too weak.
Their scrutiny follows an incident that recently came to light when samples of H5N1 from Baxter’s Austrian labs contaminated batches of the less harmful H3N2 seasonal flu virus that it was supplying under a commercial contract to a customer, Avir Greenhills Biotechnology.
A combination of H3N2, which is highly transmissable between humans, and H5N1, which has killed hundreds of millions of chickens and other animals in recent years, could potentially lead to a mutated virus that forms the basis of a new human pandemic threatening millions of lives, according to scientists.
Baxter stressed that the H3N2 strain had been made “replication defective”, and was handled in tightly controlled laboratories purely for experiments, so there was little chance it could have led to an outbreak threatening humans. It also stressed that all staff potentially exposed were tested and given antiviral treatment to prevent any infection.
Baxter was forced to suspend production last year of Heparin, a blood thinner, after contamination during manufacturing of the primary ingredient in China triggered health alerts in the US, where regulators say it may have contributed to patient deaths. Baxter has refuted the FDA’s claim.
Baxter said the H5N1 samples were provided for its own research into a pandemic vaccine it is developing, and were from a variant of the virus identified in Vietnam and provided to the company by the US Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta.
“The material was handled appropriately in all steps of the process in the right conditions,” said Chris Bona, a Baxter spokesman. “The experimental material was produced exclusively for laboratory testing, was not used for product production and was not for use in humans.”
It somehow mixed with H3N2 before distribution last December to Avir, and the more potent virus was detected by a subcontractor in the Czech republic last month after it rapidly killed ferrets exposed to the viruses. Avir had also sent samples to Slovenia and Germany.
Mr Bona stressed that Baxter had since taken “corrective preventative actions” and its procedures had been approved by the Austrian authorities.
The incident comes just after the conclusion of an EU-funded project on biosafety highlighted the need for improvement to national regulatory frameworks for biosafety and laboratory biosecurity.
Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2009
New Strain of Bird Flu Poses Threat
Tuesday, March 17, 2009 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
(NaturalNews) Even as governments and health experts around the world have been focusing on the threat of a pandemic of the H5N1 strain of avian flu, another dangerous strain known as H9N2 has gone mostly ignored, according to a study published in the journal PLos ONE.
“Our results suggest that the establishment and prevalence of H9N2 viruses in poultry pose a significant threat for humans,” the researchers wrote.
Of three known species of influenza virus, two of them regularly infect humans. The third species, influenza A virus, primarily affects birds and is also known as bird flu. Among hundreds of strains of influenza A, the World Health Organization says that only four have ever been known to infect humans: H5N1, H7N3, H7N7 and H9N2.
H5N1 has attracted the most attention due to its extreme virulence and high death rate – of 385 humans known to have been infected with the virus since 2003, 243 have died. The virus is widespread in both domestic and wild bird populations, giving rise to fears that it could mutate into a form more easily transmissible to and between humans.
But H9N2 can also cross from birds to pigs, humans and other animals, and has infected at least four Hong Kong children to date. In its current form, the virus causes only mild symptoms. In the current study, however, researchers found that a single mutation was enough to make H9N2 more infectious and virulent, but also to enable it to cross directly between infected ferrets. Ferrets react to influenza similarly humans, and are often used as an animal model for the disease.
Hybridization of the H9N2 and H3N2 strains also resulted in a more pathogenic and easily transmitted flu. Researchers believe this could occur if a single organism is infected with both strain simultaneously. Neither of the laboratory-produced strains was able to spread through the air and could only spread by touch, similar to colds.
Sources for this story include: www.reuters.com.
Signs of Drug Resistance Found in Africa’s H5N1 Virus
GLOBE – Scientists who analyzed 67 H5N1 avian influenza viruses from across Africa report that the viruses fall into three distinct sublineages, or families, and that some have mutations that make them resistant to antiviral drugs.
The scientists also found that some of the African viruses have genetic markers that are characteristic of human flu viruses rather than avian strains, according to their report, published in the online journal PLoS One.
“These findings raise concern for the possible human health risk presented by viruses with these genetic properties and highlight the need for increased efforts to monitor the evolution of A/H5N1 viruses across the African continent,” says the report by a large international team of scientists. The group includes several from African countries and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization.
Lethal H5N1 viruses made their African debut on Nigerian poultry farms in January 2006, the report notes. Soon afterward the virus cropped up in Egypt, Niger, and Cameroon, and in April 2006 it was found in Sudan, Burkina Faso, Djibouti, and Ivory Coast. The virus surfaced in Ghana and Togo in mid-2007 and in Benin in December 2007.
All but two human cases of H5N1 disease in Africa have occurred in Egypt, whose official case count is 58, with 23 deaths. Nigeria and Djibouti have each had one human case.
Rapid spread of 3 sublineages
The scientists looked at 494 H5N1 gene sequences from 67 African isolates, including the complete hemagglutinin and neuraminidase gene segments, all collected between February 2006 and early 2008 and representing all 11 affected countries. The analysis also included hundreds of gene sequences from European and Middle Eastern H5N1 viruses.
The researchers determined that all the African viruses belong to clade 2.2 and are related to the H5N1 viruses that have been circulating throughout Europe, Russia, and the Middle East since late 2005. Clade 2.2 traces back to the outbreak of avian flu in thousands of migratory birds at China’s Qinghai Lake in the spring of 2005, the article notes.
Detailed analysis of the hemagglutinin genes showed that the viruses fall into three sublineages (labeled I, II, and IV). All three groups “had been co-circulating since the beginning of the epidemic in Africa,” suggesting that all three had been introduced into Africa separately, as reported in previous studies, the report says.
Just how the three groups entered Africa and spread so rapidly is still unclear. But the viruses emerged in Africa when related strains were present in European migratory birds, “and such birds may have played a significant role in the introduction of the virus,” the scientists write.
The three sublineages had geographic dimensions, but the patterns were complex. All the Egyptian isolates were in sublineage IV, which they shared with isolates from Gaza and Israel. Strains from Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Ghana, and Cameroon formed a single cluster in sublineage I. However, the authors found all three groups in Nigeria, a finding that agreed with an earlier study.
Viruses collected in Sudan were in sublineage I and closely related to those from Nigeria, Burkina Faso, and Ivory Coast, rather than to those from nearby Egypt and Djibouti. Overall, the findings “may suggest that a certain degree of geographical segregation has occurred in Africa” since the initial viral introductions, the report states.
Antiviral resistance, markers of human flu
In searching signs of antiviral resistance, the team found four bird isolates from Egypt carrying a mutation linked with resistance to the older class of flu drugs, the adamantanes (amantadine and rimantadine). They also found viruses from two human cases in Egypt that had a mutation (known as N294S) that confers resistance to oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and slightly reduced sensitivity to zanamivir (Relenza).
However, no mutations conferring resistance to oseltamivir or zanamivir were found in any of the African viruses from birds.
The authors also found a number of isolates with genetic markers usually found in human flu viruses rather than avian strains. In particular, they checked the African viruses for 13 genetic markers consistently found in the flu viruses that caused the pandemics of 1918, 1957, and 1968.
They found two, both in the PB2 gene. One of these, known as E627K and associated with increased H5N1 virulence in mice, was found in all the African isolates. Another was found in just two bird viruses from Egypt.
In other findings, the report says that two different reassortant viruses representing combinations of two of the three sublineages were found in Nigeria in 2006 and 2007. One of these became the predominant strain in Nigeria’s poultry in 2007.
Evidence of international spread
“The continued circulation of A/H5N1 viruses in the African continent not only affects the local economy but also impacts on animal and human health,” the report states. It concludes with a call for constant efforts to monitor and control avian flu across Africa.
David A. Halvorson, DVM, an avian flu expert at the University of Minnesota in St. Paul, said the report appears to confirm that there were three separate introductions of H5N1 into Africa and that those strains continue to circulate.
Further, he said the study shows that genetic sequencing “shows evidence for international spread within Africa as well as evidence for local spread; and that there have been no additional introductions since the first ones.”
Dr Halvorson also commented that the findings regarding antiviral resistance are not surprising: “These mutations are typical of viruses as they circulate in a host. It seems they can mutate to resistance without any antiviral compound present.”
Here are some links in case you are interested:
Glenn Beck: Swine Flu Breakout Map and Coverage
HOW (AND HOW NOT) TO BATTLE A FLU EPIDEMIC.
Dr. Melissa Clouthier: Swine Flu: Can We Secure The Border Now?–UPDATED
Michelle Malkin: Schumer opposed flu pandemic funding in stimulus, too, you morons
Bookworm Room: Even the earth is out to get Mexico
Bookworm Room: Facts about epidemic funding in the U.S.
Last week saw an unusual number of outright lies from our media and political class. Lies that went virtually unchallenged. Yawn.
Lie #1: ABC, celebrating Obama’s 100 day mark, announced he is enjoying the best presidential job approval rating of any president at this point in 20 years. Not so. A simple google search shows that George W. Bush, at the 100 day mark in his presidency, enjoyed a 62% approval rating. Obama, alas, enjoys only a 52% approval rating. ABC lied.
Lie #2: Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced to the world that she was never told during a congressional briefing in 2002 that waterboarding or other “enhanced” interrogation techniques were being used on terrorism suspects. This directly contradicts a 2007 Washington Post article saying that the California Democrat and three other lawmakers had received an hour-long secret briefing on the interrogation tactics, including waterboarding, and that they raised no objections at the time. In plain English – Nancy Pelosi lied.
Not mentioned in this brougha ha is the fact that waterboarding of American military personnel, as part of their training, far exceeded the three times this heinous method was used on terrorists. But torture applied to members of the U.S. military is justified, because the left has already pronounced them guilty, unlike the poor terrorists who have yet to enjoy their day in American courts.
Lie #3: Next up, California Congressman Henry Waxman. After accusing Newt Gingrich of trying to scare people into opposing ‘climate legislation,’ Waxman flatly stated that the cap and trade legislation currently being hatched in Congress was designed to “contain energy cost increases.”
If Waxman wasn’t so smart, I would classify his statement as merely a misstatement. But Waxman does his home work. Policy wonk that he is, he had to be aware of the numerous analysis that predict this same cap and trade legislation will increase yearly energy costs for the average family by $1,800 to $3,900. Conclusion: Waxman lied.
Lie #4: Our list of liars would be woefully incomplete without inclusion of Father Earth, Al Gore. Gore told a House hearing that the Democratic climate bill would limit carbon dioxide and other pollution linked to a warming of the earth and would simultaneously solve the problems of the climate, economy and national security. No supporting facts were given as to how taxing air will help the economy, much less improve our security. None were necessary because Al Gore has a Nobel Prize. (Lie #5: Nobel Prize recipients don’t lie.)
Completely overlooked also, was Gore’s underlying premise that man made pollution is linked to climate change. Despite widespread acceptance of this ‘fake but accurate’ premise, no science has been able to definitively link climate change to man, despite billions of our tax dollars and years of trying. Steve Milloy of JunkScience.com offered $100,000 to anyone who could supply this missing link. To date, he has received no takers. Hmmm….
I’m not 100% sure I can call Gore a liar. After all, a lie is a false statement made with deliberate intent to deceive. And there remains the slight possibility that Al Gore might actually believe the nonsense he spouts.
Another widely accepted premise that has gone unchallenged is that Bush lied. Any liberal, oops, progressive, worth his salt knows for a fact that Bush lied. But strangely enough, not one person has ever taken me up on my oft repeated offer of $100 to anyone who could point out a specific instance where Bush actually lied.
From this I can conclude one of two things: Either Bush didn’t lie, or liberals are so busy feeding at the public trough that they don’t need my measly $100 bucks.
Google search is invaluable in supplying facts and credible rebuttals to the avalanche of misstatements, out of context statements, and outright lies that are mistakenly accepted as truth these days. Unfortunately, there are two things this search engine can’t find: a list of the new politically correct rules we are all now obliged to live by, and a list of the new definitions of old words.
Since I still have that $100 bucks proving Bush didn’t lie, I’m going to go out on a limb and offer it to any liberal, oops, progressive, who can supply me with two things. An up to date list of politically correct rules and a current list of the new definitions of old words. I’ll increase this amount to a cool $1,000 bucks to anyone who can tell me when Americans voted on these new rules and definitions.
Nancy Morgan is a columnist and news editor for RightBias.com
She lives in South Carolina
By: Terresa Monroe-Hamilton
Today has been a worrisome day looking through the news and I have a bad feeling about what is happening now and what is coming. Something wicked this way comes and I fear we are opening the door wide for it.
It would seem our government and those running the country have totally lost it. Supporting terrorists more than they do America. Even pushing it in our schools and down the throats of our young ones. But hey, it worked for Obama right?
Terrorists torture people. And I mean real torture – not hoods and nighties; not caterpillars or leashes; not water boarding or listening to heavy metal – I mean real torture… The kind where you are violently tortured to the point that you wish you were dead – in fact, strong men beg for death. So don’t tell me that terrorists are just misunderstood protesters. That’s laughable… They won’t hesitate to torture Americans and the government has just increased the odds of it 100 fold… They know America won’t torture, but our enemies have no such qualms.
Our government is now releasing CIA memos describing US techniques for acquiring information from terrorists – this by the way stopped an attack on LA after 9-11, but they want us to overlook that point. Obama could learn something from Churchill at this point rather than conducting witch hunts among our operatives and our military warriors. But no, the left will destroy us as a nation by doing this. No one will want to join the military when they are done or work as an operative for the CIA. They will be afraid of being prosecuted at home and abroad as well as being exposed by their own government. America will be left virtually defenseless and one wonders if this wasn’t the point all along…
The Obama administration agreed late Thursday to release dozens of photographs depicting alleged abuse by U.S. personnel during the Bush administration of prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan.
At least 44 pictures will be released by May 28, making public for the first time images of what the military investigated at facilities other than the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.
Defense Department officials would not say exactly what is contained in the photos but said they are concerned the release could incite a Mideast backlash.
The photos, taken from Air Force and Army criminal investigations, apparently are not as shocking as the photographs from the Abu Ghraib investigation that became a lasting symbol of U.S. mistakes in Iraq. But some show military personnel intimidating or threatening detainees by pointing weapons at them. Military officers have been court-martialed for threatening detainees at gunpoint.
Once again, America’s military is being stabbed in the back. Who gives a flying flip about a Mideast backlash? Oh, that’s right, Obama does for obvious reasons I won’t even state here… The left, the media and our government have gone too far this time and stepped over the line to viciously attack those who keep them safe at night. Just remember guys, someday you’ll need someone to watch your backs and they’ll be gone because you drove our warriors away. Hope you got ammo…
Now the government is getting their claws also into cybersecurity – which sounds good until you study it: http://www.e3gazette.com/2009/04/senate-bill-773-cybersecurity-act-of.html. The government is on one hell of a power trip amounting to 1984 on steroids.
Something wicked this way comes and soon there will be no one left in America to stop it…
Steve Schippert – the tank: Obama Administration’s Assault on the American Warrior Commences
Kim Priestap – Wizbang: The Obama Administration’s Assault on the American Warrior
Rick – Brutally Honest: “The assault is relentless”
Pierre Legrand’s Pink Flamingo Bar: Obama Administration’s Assault on the American Warrior Commences – Steve Schippert – The Tank on National Review Online
Bruce Kesler – Maggie’s Farm: Torturing Us Over Torture
Bookworm Room: Obama administration targets the real enemy
100 DAYS: Geithner says downturn may be easing – yeah, right…
Hat Tip: Joy Cooke
Captain Trips arrives… Read The Stand…
Doctors warned to watch for mystery illness in tourists returning from Mexico
Thursday, 23 April 2009
TORONTO – Public health units, quarantine officers and medical practitioners across the country have been warned to be on guard for cases of a mystery illness in Canadians returning from Mexico.
The warning follows reports from that country of cases of severe respiratory illness, which in some cases has led to death.
Mexican authorities have insisted the outbreak is not an epidemic and that preventive measures are being taken to reduce the risk of transmission of disease.
Mexican authorities informed Canadian counterparts about the situation on April 17, asking for help with their investigation. Scientists at the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg are assisting in efforts to determine the cause or causes of the illnesses.
“We are aware of the reports and are looking into them,” said Andrew McDermott, a spokesperson for the Public Health Agency of Canada.
It’s not clear if there is any link between these illnesses and the recent discovery of several human cases of swine flu infection in California.
Dr. Arlene King, who is the Public Health Agency of Canada’s point person for pandemic influenza preparedness, said samples from Mexico will need to be studied to see if there is any link.
King, who was named Ontario’s new chief public health officer on Thursday and takes on the job in mid-June, said it is important to be on the lookout for new infectious disease outbreaks.
“We absolutely have to remain vigilant in the country around the situation in Mexico and globally,” said King, who is director general of the public health agency’s centre for immunization and respiratory infectious diseases.
“We need to be prepared for any emerging infectious disease threat that may occur outside of our borders. It’s absolutely fundamental.”
A spokesperson for the Pan American Health Organization – the World Health Organization’s Americas branch – said PAHO is also working with Mexican authorities to look into the reports.
“We’re co-operating with (Mexican) authorities on it,” Donna Eberwine-Villagran said from Washington.
“We have people in our field office in Mexico City and also in our border office working with Mexican authorities looking at the cases.”
The illnesses are said to have been occurring in south and central Mexico and involve mainly young, previously healthy adults. Some reports have suggested health-care workers have become ill.
To date, two clusters of severe respiratory infections with death have been reported in April, one in Mexico City and one in San Luis Potosi. Mexico City has reported 120 cases including 13 deaths while San Luis Potosi, in central Mexico, has reported 14 cases including four deaths.
In addition there has been a death reported in Oaxaca, in southern Mexico and two deaths reported in Baja California Norte, which borders California.
Health authorities have been told some of the cases have tested positive for influenza, but some cases are influenza A and others are influenza B.
A leading infectious diseases expert said a number of pathogens could be the culprit or culprits.
“It could be anything,” said Dr. Allison McGeer of Toronto’s Mount Sinai Hospital. “Full range from new and unidentified virus to stuff that goes on every day and somebody just did a test.”
She added, though that it was “improbable” that the illness was being caused by anything exotic and was most likely the work of influenza or an adenovirus.
An advisory from Toronto Public Health to health professionals said that given the severity of the illness, health care workers should be actively looking for cases of severe respiratory infection in people who have been in Mexico in the previous two weeks.
But the advisory stressed that there is no evidence the infections are caused by an unusual pathogen or a novel flu strain.
Mexican health officials held a news conference Wednesday to discuss the situation, putting the surge in illnesses down to end-of-season flu activity.
Mauricio Hernandez Avila, the undersecretary for health prevention and promotion, said the health department had initiated an active search for cases of serious pneumonia associated with the illness in the country, especially in the federal district that encompasses Mexico City.