As the threat of a swine flu pandemic rises, it’s a good time to review the key facts and get useful links to keep on hand.
The Wall Street Journal this morning looked at why so many people have died of swine flu in Mexico, where the first cases probably occurred: “As the disease hit Mexico very early, doctors didn’t suspect anything unusual when patients came in complaining of high fever and body aches. Especially in Mexico City, with its high altitude and smoggy air, common colds that develop into a throat or chest infection with a fever are frequent in winter months and beyond,” the paper reported. Many of the earliest victims also delayed going to the doctor and were misdiagnosed when they did go. Another report indicated that many of the fatal flu cases in Mexico may not even be swine flu, since the outbreak began at the tail end of the regular influenza season.
The number of deaths could rise internationally as the number of cases increases. However, it appears that especially if caught early, this flu can usually be treated.
A diagnosis of swine flu can only be confirmed by a specific laboratory test. Anyone who is pregnant, or has other special health considerations should be especially careful and report any symptoms to their physician.