Swine flu cases on the rise in Mexico

Friday, January 27, 2012
By Paul Martin

KATHERINE CORCORAN
TheStar.com
Fri Jan 27 2012

MEXICO CITY—Three years after swine flu closed Mexico City and caused an international scare, the Mexican government and local media are at odds over the severity of this season’s flu virus. Newspapers are warning of an alarming increase in cases while the government insists there is no cause for alarm.

Federal and state health officials agree there is an increase, but they say the number of cases is within the range of a normal flu season.

The Mexican health ministry, however, has listed confusing numbers on its website and it hasn’t specified the rise in cases despite repeated requests from the Associated Press.

The federal education ministry said Wednesday that it was instituting screening measures in all elementary schools for the H1N1 flu strain, commonly called swine flu when the first outbreak was discovered in Mexico in March 2009. The ministry revised its message later to say screenings are in place only at schools where children exhibit symptoms.

Local media reported a handful of schools in Mexico City have closed. The education ministry said they were private schools shuttered by administrators and parents, not by official government action.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday that while Mexico is seeing more cases of the H1N1 virus, the U.S. is seeing more cases of a different strain, H3N2. Antibodies for both are part of this year’s flu vaccine. H1N1 is now considered a seasonal flu.

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