APRIL 28, 2009
A Democrat congressman who serves on the House Homeland Security Committee is calling for a total closure of the Mexican border until the deadly swine virus is contained or at least controlled.
New York Representative Eric Massa says the public needs to be aware of the serious threat of swine flu and that the United States needs to close its borders with Mexico immediately and completely until this is resolved. The lawmaker says the virus, which is quickly spreading in the U.S., is a serious health threat to Americans that is not receiving the attention it deserves.
The rare virus, a respiratory disease common in pigs that usually doesn’t infect humans, originated in Mexico and has infected more than 1,600 people there and killed 152. Mexican health officials believe the flu epidemic will worsen and the country’s health secretary assures the number of cases will keep rising.
A regularly updated database posted by the Centers for Disease Control documents swine influenza infections identified in the U.S. So far, there have been 40, with the largest concentration (28) in New York. California has reported seven cases, Kansas and Texas each have two and Ohio has one.
Cases have also been reported in Europe (Britain and Spain) as well as Canada, Israel and New Zealand. In Australia there have been 70 swine flu infections and Sweden and Switzerland each have reported five. The European Union issued a warning urging citizens against travel to Mexico and the United States.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano declared a public health emergency but downplayed the situation by adding that the term sounds more severe than it really is since its simply standard operating procedure. She went on to assure Americans that her department has implemented “passive surveillance protocols” to screen individuals who may arrive at our borders infected.
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