Swine Flu: One U.S. Death, One Attempt to Change Flu's Name


As of 8 a.m.
this morning one U.S. death, in Texas, has been attributed to the swine flu outbreak. The fatality was a Mexican toddler whose family was visiting the state. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, 14 Californians are confirmed as being stricken by SF, while New York City leads the national count with 51 cases. The CDC issued a travel warning against visiting Mexico, which reports 18 laboratory-confirmed cases of SF, although 159 people have reputedly died of it. Mexico's government says it suspects there are SF cases in 19 of the country's 32 states. (In today's L.A. Times, entertainment writer Patrick Goldstein reports that the new X Men film's premiere has been put on hold in Mexico because of its shuttered movie theaters.)

In an odd sideshow to the epidemic, National Public Radio reports that Israeli deputy health minister Yaakov Litzman, in deference to Jewish dietary laws, is trying to rebrand swine flu as the "Mexican flu." Mexico's ambassador to Tel Aviv has protested the announcement.

Yesterday, the L.A. County Board of Supervisors declared a public-health emergency

in order, reports NPR affiliate KPCC, "to free up more resources in

case of an outbreak." No reference to SF appears on the board's Web

page, nor is there any acknowledgment of a potential emergency on any

of the 15 City Council members' home pages -- although these sites tend

not to be updated very often. So far most of the people confirmed as

having SF in the U.S. are not exhibiting the severe symptoms the strain

can inflict.


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