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Please begin with an informative title:

First, don't panic. But it is worriesome. CDC says this virus has not been seen in the US before and is a "mixture." They have said the virus in the United States was:  

a never-before-seen mixture of viruses typical among pigs, birds and humans.* reuters
A CDC presser "to discuss an update in the investigation of cases of swine influenza" will take place at 2:30 p.m. ET today. CDC Update page.

Sixty people have died in Mexico from this H1N1 flu that has caused officials to close schools in Mexico City. People in Mexico have been warned not to shake hands or greet others with a kiss.

Seven US cases of this flu have occurred and all recovered. swine/birds/humans H1N1

Intro

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UPDATE II

*
detail here.

Preliminary genetic analysis has shown that the virus appears to be an unusual hybrid that has genetic material from four different sources, Nancy Cox, chief of CDC's Influenza Division, said at the teleconference: avian and swine viruses from North America, a swine flu strain usually seen in Asia, and a human influenza strain. It's unclear how the virus picked up the odd combination

UPDATE I:
WHO  "We are very, very concerned," WHO spokesman Thomas Abraham said. "We have what appears to be a novel virus and it has spread from human to human." If international spread is confirmed, that meets WHO's criteria for raising the pandemic alert level, he added.

WHO also raised its internal alert system Friday, enabling the agency to divert more money and personnel to dealing with the outbreak. "It's all hands on deck at the moment." Abraham said.

nytimes
(Mexico's Health Minister Cordova said:) the virus had mutated from pigs and had at some point been transmitted to humans.

Mexico’s flu season is usually over by now, but health officials have noticed a significant spike in flu cases. The World Health Organization reported about 800 cases of flu-like symptoms in Mexico in recent weeks, most of them among healthy young adults, with 57 deaths in Mexico City and 3 in central Mexico.

That is a worrying pattern because seasonal flus typically cause most deaths among infants and old people, while pandemic flus, such as the 1918 Spanish flu, often strike young, healthy people the hardest. Doctors believe that it is because young adults have more vigorous immune systems — which mount an assault on the new virus known as a “cytokine storm” — that may actually overwhelm the victim’s own lungs by causing inflammation and drawing in fluid.

It was clear that Mexican health officials were alarmed.

Reuters reported that this mutated virus came from pigs and it looks as if it is linked with the seven California and Texas cases.

wapo A deadly strain of swine flu never seen before has broken out in Mexico, killing at least 16 people and raising fears it is spreading across North America.

The World Health Organization said it was concerned about what it called 800 "influenza-like" cases in Mexico, and also about a confirmed outbreak of a new strain of swine flu in the United States.

It contains DNA typical to avian, swine and human viruses, including elements from European and Asian swine viruses
Mexico update 4/24 CDC
It's always difficult to make sense out of things in the early stages of an outbreak ("the fog of epidemics"), so we'll have to await further evidence. Preliminary tests in Mexico were said to show that cases had influenza A/H1N1, influenza B or parainfluenza.
Questions/Answers about swine flu and humans.
WSJ: "New strain of swine flu in Mexico 900 ill. Mr. Cordova described a chilling new strain that had killed only people among the normally less-vulnerable young and mid-adult age range. One possibility is that the most vulnerable segments of the population -- infants and the aged -- had been vaccinated against other strains, and that those vaccines may be providing some protection.
Bloomberg  Thirteen fatal cases of severe respiratory illness were reported in Mexico City; four in San Luis Potosi, north of the capital; two in the state of Baja California Norte, bordering California; and another in Oaxaca city in the south. Most cases occurred in southern and central Mexico in previously healthy adults ages 25 to 44.

Symptoms include high fever, headache, eye pain, shortness of breath and extreme fatigue with rapid progression of symptoms to severe respiratory distress in about five days, the Canadian agency said. A “high proportion” of cases require mechanical respiration, it said.

snip/ {Schuchat:} “We don’t know yet how widely it’s spreading and we certainly don’t know the extent of the problem.”

The swine flu virus contains four different gene segments representing both North American swine and avian influenza, human flu and a Eurasian swine flu, CDC said.

“We haven’t seen this strain before, but we haven’t been looking as intensively as we are these days,” Schuchat said. “It’s very possible that this is something new that hasn’t been happening before.”

Updating with ADDITIONAL Info:
Bird flu has faded from world headlines because it has not caused a pandemic. But the disease is still circulating in poultry in Egypt, Indonesia, China, Vietnam and along the India-Bangladesh border. It has mutated into at least 10 strains and occasionally infects humans.

An April 8 Reuters article from Cairo quoted a visiting W.H.O. expert saying his agency feared “something strange happening in Egypt” and would help the government test the blood of healthy people for antibodies this summer.nytimes africa

Egyptian health officials have just reported two deaths from bird flu within days of each other. The dangerous virus variant H5N1 struck down a six-year-old boy and a young woman, bringing the total death toll in Egypt to 25. While bird flu experts note that Egypt has seen a surge in human cases in recent months, with 16 confirmed since the start of the year...

Rumors have appeared in the Egyptian media that the virus is circulating widely, and that some people get “silent infections” which show no symptoms.... there is no evidence yet of asymptomatic avian flu cases or any significant mutation in the H5N1 virus.  Discover magazine.

ap report  Closing the schools across the metropolis of 20 million kept 6.1 million students home from day care centers through high schools, and thousands more were affected as colleges and universities closed down.

The health department put the total number of people sickened at around 943 nationwide.

Extended (Optional)

Originally posted to Gorette on Fri Apr 24, 2009 at 09:41 AM PDT.

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