Confusion over swine flu death toll | Connect Asia

Confusion over swine flu death toll

Confusion over swine flu death toll

Updated 18 January 2012, 20:05 AEDT

Mexico's deadly swine flu outbreak is now on the brink of sparking a global pandemic.

But despite the warnings by the World Health Organization about its seriousness there's still confusion about how many people have died from the virus. Mexico's Government has confirmed 260 people have swine flu and the official, confirmed death toll is 12. But the suspected deaths from the disease is put at 180. Eleven countries have officially reported 257 cases of H1N1 influenza. The United States Government has reported 109 laboratory confirmed human cases, including one death. Canada has 19 confirmed cases. Spain 13.

Presenter: Kim Landers

Jessica Avanto, mother of child with flu symptoms; Fabian Ismael Villasenor, doctor

(Sound of coughing)

KIM LANDERS: In Mexico City, mobile health clinics have sprung up to deal with people who feel sick.

One caravan is parked near the historic city centre and hundreds of people have lined up to see the doctor.

(Sound of Jessica Avanto speaking)

Jessica Avanto is describing her three-year-old son's symptoms.

She says he's got a runny nose and a cough.

The toddler is wearing a face mask and is playing happily with his Incredible Hulk action figure.

But his mother says he's been sick for days.

KIM LANDERS: Do you think he's got swine flu?

(Sound of translation into Spanish)

TRANSLATOR (for Jessica Avanto): She hopes not, because he hasn't had a fever, and it's an important symptom. But she's worried about it and that's why she came here.

KIM LANDERS: The swine flu outbreak began over a week ago, but this mobile health clinic has only been here for two days.

Leopoldo Llanos is lining up here too.

He says he's got a sore throat and a cold.

KIM LANDERS: How long have you been sick?

(Sound of translation into Spanish)

TRANSLATOR (for Leopoldo Llanos): From Monday... since Monday to today.

KIM LANDERS: I ask him if he's worried he's got swine flu.

(Sound of Leopoldo Llanos speaking)

He says he's really worried and was walking past the clinic when he decided to stop.

I ask him if he's seen a doctor.

He says he went to one of the main hospitals in Mexico City, but they told him they could only treat him if he had all the symptoms.

And because he doesn't have a fever, they turned him away.

Fabian Ismael Villasenor is the doctor who's seeing patients at this clinic, after they've had their temperatures checked by an assistant and described their symptoms too.

(Sound of Fabian Ismael Villasenor speaking)

He says the clinic is trying to reduce panic, to focus on prevention and education, but is also checking if people have swine flu and if they do, to send them to hospital.

I ask him if he's seen anyone yet with swine flu.

(Sound of Fabian Ismael Villasenor speaking)

He says he hasn't so far, nor does he expect to see many people who have the flu.

Meanwhile, Mexico's President Felipe Calderon is urging people to stay home over the next five days in a bid to halt the spread of swine flu.

Only essential businesses such as supermarkets, hospitals and chemists will stay open.

And only critical Government workers such as police and soldiers will be on duty.


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