Backgrounder: Key facts about swine flu
by Qi Wei
TOKYO, April 26 (Xinhua) -- Japan has tightened
preventive measures against the threat of swine flu as the deadly outbreaks in
Mexico claimed more than 60 human lives.
At a meeting of ministry and agency section chiefs
Saturday, the government decided to strengthen measures to prevent the virulent
strain of swine flu from spreading to Japan and issued an advisory for travelers
to Mexico and the United States, where eight people were infected with the
disease, that urges precautions such as wearing masks and washing hands, and
called on all people returning from either country to report unusual symptoms.
The health, labor and welfare ministry held an
emergency press conference Saturday to warn the public of the flu threat and
announced preparations to tackle the potential influenza pandemic.
It is not yet clear whether the World Health
Organization (WHO) will certify the swine flu as a new strain of influenza, said
Yoshio Nanba, chief of the ministry's office for pandemic influenza. But the
ministry has begun preparations together with ministries and agencies concerned
to take joint actions if the WHO's confirmation comes.
Nanba called on the public to respond calmly and act
on correct information.
Meanwhile, the foreign ministry established a liaison
office and begun around-the-clock gathering of information on the outbreak and
urged those who are bound for the swine flu-stricken country to abort their
At Kansai and Narita international airports, the
quarantine station used thermographic imaging to check the temperatures of
passengers coming from Mexico to detect fevers that could be caused by swine
The Agriculture, forestry and fisheries ministry also
instructed animal quarantine offices across Japan to check live pigs brought
into Japan for possible infection.
In Mexico City, where a total of 24 new suspected
cases were reported on Saturday, the Japanese Embassy said there were no reports
of deaths from the flu or infections among the more than 5,000 Japanese living
in Mexico. The embassy said it is too early to recommend evacuation from the
The swine flu is believed to have killed as many as
68 people and sickened more than 1,000 across Mexico.
2 swine flu cases confirmed in U.S.
state of Kansas
April 25 (Xinhua) -- The Kansas Department of Health and Environment on Saturday
confirmed two cases of swine flu in the state.
A spokeswoman said the department is planning to release
details on the two cases at a news conference later Saturday. Full story
U.S. expects more swine flue cases:
WASHINGTON, April 25 (Xinhua)
-- The United States is expected to embrace more cases of swine flu because the
virus can not be contained, an official from the U.S. Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Saturday.
"With infections in many different communities as we're
seeing, we don't think that containment is feasible," said Anne Schucha, interim
deputy director for the CDC's science and public health program. Full story
Probable swine flu cases found in New
NEW YORK, April 25
(Xinhua) -- At least eight students of a non-public school in New York City were
found to have probable human swine influenza, New York health officials said on
More than 100 students at the school in the New York City
borough of Queens were sick this week with fever and other flu-like symptoms,
the New York City Health Department said in a press release. Full story
Texas high school closing after
possible new case of swine flu found
HOUSTON, April 25 (Xinhua) -- A high school in the
U.S. state of Texas is temporarily closing after a new possible case of the
deadly swine flu was identified there, health officials said Saturday.
Byron Steele High School in Guadalupe County near San
Antonio, Texas, will "temporarily close effective immediately as public health
and school officials work to keep swine influenza from spreading", the Texas
Department of State Health Services (DSHS) said in a press release. Full story
Mexican president holds emergency
meeting on flu outbreak
A man wearing a mask walks past a
Mexican flag in Mexico City, capital of Mexico, April 24, 2009. The
government of Mexico City is launching a massive vaccination campaign
throughout the city against swine flu, which has possibly killed dozens
nationwide. (Xinhua Photo)
MEXICO CITY, April 24 (Xinhua) -- Mexican President Felipe
Calderon on Friday held an emergency meeting at the Presidential Office with
ministers, health authorities and experts to discuss measures to deal with the
deadly flu outbreak.
Calderon also decided to inform Mexicans about the
nationwide flu outbreak. Full story
China on alert to prevent swine flu
BEIJING, April 25 (Xinhua) -- China's General
Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine issued an
emergency notice Saturday night requiring people to report flu-like symptoms at
the point of entry when coming from the deadly swine flu affected places.
This is China's latest move in response to the
outbreaks of human infection of Swine Influenza A/H1N1 in Mexico and the United
States. Full story
Hong Kong to enhance surveillance at
boundary control points for Swine
HONG KONG, April 25 (Xinhua)
-- Hong Kong will step up local surveillance systems at boundary control points
and the public health laboratory in light of outbreaks of human infection of
Swine Influenza A/H1N1 in Mexico and the United States, the Center for Health
Protection (CHP) of the Department of Health of Hong Kong announced on Saturday.
Travelers from the affected places who are found to have
Swine Influenza symptoms at Hong Kong's boundary control points will be taken to
hospitals for further investigation. Laboratory testing for Swine Influenza will
be conducted for patients with influenza-like-illness who had traveled to the
affected places within 7 days before onset of symptoms. Full story
S Korea to tighten quarantine measures
for U.S., Mexican pork
SEOUL, April 26 (Xinhua) -- The South Korean
government announced to tighten quarantine measures for pork from the United
States and Mexico after outbreaks of swine influenza in these countries, local
media reported on Sunday.
South Korea's National Veterinary Research and
Quarantine Service announced Saturday that U.S. and Mexican pork to be imported
from Monday will be put in quarantine to check if it was infected with the
disease. Full story
WHO declares swine flu outbreak
"public health emergency"
GENEVA, April 25 (Xinhua) -- The World Health
Organization (WHO)on Saturday declared the swine flu outbreak in Mexico and the
United States a "public health emergency of international concern" and urged
countries to be alert.
Based on the advice of a WHO emergency committee,
Director-general Margaret Chan "has determined that the current events
constitute a public health emergency of international concern," the UN agency
said in a statement. Full story