September 18, 2009 |
As health officials brace for a new onslaught of illness from the novel H1N1 virus, they remain perplexed by one of the most unusual and unsettling patterns to emerge from this pandemic -- the tendency of the so-called swine flu to strike younger, healthier people. The initial explanation was that the elderly, who are usually most vulnerable to the flu, have built-in immunity as a result of their exposure more than 50 years ago to ancestors of today's pandemic strain. But the limits of the theory are becoming more clear.
April 27, 2009 |
Warren D. Ward, 48, was in high school when the swine flu threat of 1976 swept the U.S. The Whittier man remembers the episode vividly because a relative died in the 1918 flu pandemic, and the 1976 illness was feared to be a direct descendant of the deadly virus. "The government wanted everyone to get vaccinated," Ward said. "But the epidemic never really broke out. It was a threat that never materialized." What did materialize were cases of a rare side effect thought to be linked to the shot.
May 3, 2009 |
The feds were on the phone explaining that a 10-year-old boy had a strain of swine flu no one had ever seen before. As Dr. Michele Ginsberg listened, her mind flashed back to the days before the AIDS virus had been identified, when people were showing up at emergency rooms in California with a mysterious pneumonia. Ginsberg, community epidemiology chief for San Diego County, where the boy was from, picked through her reports of unusual deaths, looking for similar cases.
April 30, 2009 |
Reaction to the spread of swine flu may seem muted in the United States, despite its proximity to the deadly outbreak in Mexico. But that's not the case in Asia, Western Europe and the Middle East, where the threat of a pandemic has quickly led people to don protective masks and officials to screen tourists, ban meat imports and advise against travel to the Americas.
August 8, 2009 |
Educators should be conservative when they consider shutting schools because of outbreaks of swine flu, or the H1N1 virus, federal officials said Friday as they released guidelines for school districts. While emphasizing that such matters are local decisions, the officials said a desire to prevent the virus' spread must be balanced with the fallout from school closures -- parents struggling to find child care, children left unsupervised, and disruption to education. "Once you close a school, as we saw last spring, that causes a very significant ripple effect because children need to stay home," Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said at a morning news conference with education and health officials in Washington.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 23, 2009 |
Many doctors' offices across the Los Angeles area are fielding frantic calls this week from patients demanding the swine flu vaccine, only to be told that none is available despite urgent warnings from the federal government that people need to be inoculated. Patients report calling numerous doctors in hopes of getting flu vaccines for children -- who, in general, are hardest hit by the swine flu. Some even plan to attend Los Angeles County flu shot clinics, which begin today in Encino and Culver City, that are intended for the uninsured, because they say it is their only hope of getting the vaccine soon.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 29, 2009 |
Orange County men's jail will remain closed today as part of a continuing, temporary quarantine. The closure was ordered after five inmates were infected with swine flu last week and more were diagnosed over the weekend, officials said. Three inmates were diagnosed with the H1N1 virus Thursday, and two more on Friday. Those cases prompted the jail's quarantine at 6 p.m. Friday, said Orange County sheriff's spokesman John McDonald.
October 18, 2009 |
An ultraviolet light that its sellers promise will "destroy swine flu virus." A dietary supplement claiming to be "more effective than the swine flu shot." Pills, hand sanitizers and air filters galore. Through daily Internet searches, the Food and Drug Administration found hundreds of suspect items advertised as swine flu deterrents and cures, and over the last six months warned 80 Internet purveyors to stop peddling unproved or illegal treatments. The FDA has issued an advisory, telling consumers to use "extreme care" when purchasing online products claiming to diagnose, treat or prevent the H1N1 virus.
October 25, 2009 |
President Obama on Saturday declared the swine flu outbreak a national emergency, a procedural step designed to allow healthcare providers to speed treatment and slow the spread of the disease. The action gives Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius temporary authority to grant waivers that would expedite steps such as setting up off-site emergency rooms to treat potential flu victims apart from other patients. Administration officials said the move was not made as a result of any particular development, but as a preemptive measure to ensure that the tools for a quick response were in place.
May 5, 2009 |
As she approached the immigration counter at Beijing's international airport at 7 a.m. Sunday, bleary-eyed after flying all night from Bali, Lucia Rocio heard the agitated whispering of the Chinese officials. Mexican passport. Mexican passport. Rocio was pulled out of line and taken to a small room where she was given a mask and a thermometer, which she dared not put in her mouth because it appeared to be unsterilized.