It is extremely surprising how fast the new outbreak of flu has ravaged. Friday we heard first about the existence of the virus and today already we hear that more than eighty people have died.
All the dead so far are in Mexico, but with the fast pace this illness is taking it seems pretty unlikely that the problem won't spill over other countries. Mexico has too many travelers at all times to think otherwise.
At least ten cases have been confirmed in the United States and other countries. And yesterday the World Health Organization declared the epidemic of Swine Flu an international concern. As many as six cases has been confirmed in Canada too.
The virus is a mutation of the swine flu and contains also DNA of birds and humans, therefore, we have no natural immunity to it, and even worse, the illness attacks young healthy adults, which is very concerning as it is usually people with less strong immune systems who are at risk when a new type of flu outbreaks (such as the very young or very elderly).
Some things are very important to determine now:
How the virus is passed, as apparently is from human to human. There is also a big risk it comes directly from pork meat that is already on sale around the world. Even worse, if it is airborn.
What medicines can be effective to destroy the virus. Scientists so far consider that Zanamivir and Oseltamivir can be used.
In Mexico, the rate of deaths is very alarming. out of 1000 confirmed cases 80 have died. This is an 8%, which is far superior to the death rate of 1918 Spanish flu, which was only 2.5% and yet killed forty million people around the world.
Fortunately our scientific acumen is far superior. As of today scientist have the full genoma of two strains of the virus, the time response to get a vaccine may be less than three months.
Let us hope for the best, but in these days where everything is global, even illnesses, this reminds us how vulnerable we are.