Homeland Security: Holds Second Swine Flu News Conference in Two Days

April 27, 2009

(ChattahBox)– Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano held a second news conference Monday afternoon addressing the swine flu outbreak in the U.S. Napolitano cautioned that all Americans have a part to play in combating the flu outbreak by taking common sense precautions, like washing hands and not going to work or school if showing symptoms of a flu-like illness.

She directed residents to the CDC website for the latest information on the swine flu–http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu/

Border health teams are now conducting passive surveillance at land, air and sea travel ports.  Officials at the Mexican border, are  pulling people aside showing flu symptoms until a determination can be made to allow them to enter the county or send them back home.

Napolitano said Mexico officials have been very cooperative with both Canada and the U.S. in providing information on the swine flu contamination that began in their country. No official Travel advisory yet has been issued for Americans travelling to Mexico, but they are advised to avoid non-essential travel to the area. The CDC’s website has issued a Travel Health Precaution, but are not informing travellers to completely avoid Mexican travel.

The CDC advises travelers at risk for developing the flu to take an antiviral medication with them when travelling to Mexico.

Napolitano says U.S. officials are closely monitoring the situation if a future travel advisory is deemed necessary.

The World Health Organization has the U.S. pandemic risk at level three, but is meeting today to decide if should be raised to level four. The highest level is six. U.S. preparedness would not changed in response to a WHO change in risk levels, as the U.S. is preparing as if the U.S. has already reached a full pandemic.

The border with Mexico will not be closed, Napolitano saying that only makes sense to contain the spread of disease, and the swine flu has already spread to the U.S.

International travellers are also being surveyed by airport health officials especially flights from Mexico. Tear information sheets are being distributed at airports and other transportation sites.

She said CDC teams are assisting health officials in Mexico City and plan to obtain data to help in the fight against the U.S. outbreak.

(Update: The World Health Organization has raised the U.S. pandemic risk level from three to four.)


One Response to “Homeland Security: Holds Second Swine Flu News Conference in Two Days”

  1. Rosa on April 27th, 2009 5:04 pm

    Even if the illness does not continue to spread within U.S. borders, the after effects of the epidemic will still be felt within global markets. So far news of the emergency has affected global markets, for more on this topic check out this story (great sources): http://www.newsy.com/videos/the_world_on_swine_flu_alert/

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