TravelBlog members discuss the implications, gather information and share conspiracy theories.
Hello Sarah and Joe 😊
Is this a particularly bad flu or what?
Mel - It's the swine flu that has everyone concerned.
I'm not there (in Mexico) but reports that I've been getting from fellow travel writers and their colleagues in the area indicate that most public spaces are closed. Movie theatres, restaurants and churches have been voluntarily closed in Mexico City, several soccer/football games were played in empty arenas and the National Palace and several museums were closed this weekend as a precaution.
Masks aren't mandatory (I'm read some pharmacies are running low) but you might be approached by a health worker in the Mexico City Int'l airport to be screened/quarantined if you're exhibiting flu-like symptoms. The WHO has it listed as a level 3, meaning to date there is limited person to person spread of disease. Still, I'd take general public health precautions - avoid contact with your mouth/eye/nose after shaking hands with strangers and wash your hands regularly.
The U.S State Dept hasn't issued any warnings telling people not to travel to the area either, but it certainly seems to have impacted the travel industry none the less.
Thanks for the info Stephanie 😊
The British newspapers today say that more than 100 people have died so far and the virus could possibly become a very serious pandemic. From what I read about it such a flu could affect a quarter of the population of Mexico City (5 million people) and could kill 2% (100,000) of those. There are also suggestions that the Mexican government is playing down the risk and that many more than 100 people have already died.
Another thought is that - unusually for a virus - it is young adults who are most vulnerable.
> it is young adults who are most vulnerable.
The same was true for the 1918 Spanish Flu epidemic - for years there have been scare stories about something like this happening again: Sars, H5N1 (bird flu from China) - this is the first one to really have the potential.
A little more on Spanish Flu 1918
...unusually virulent and deadly Influenza A virus strain of subtype H1N1. ... Most of its victims were healthy young adults, in contrast to most influenza outbreaks which predominantly affect juvenile, elderly, or otherwise weakened patients. The pandemic lasted from March 1918 to June 1920 spreading even to the Arctic and remote Pacific islands. It is estimated that anywhere from 20 to 100 million people were killed worldwide ... conclusions of this research is that the virus kills via a cytokine storm (overreaction of the body's immune system)
There was a whole lot about it on the news today. I didnt catch it all because it is in Germany......
Will airlines allow passengers to Mexico to fly to an alternative Central American country instead? It might be worth asking. When I was supposed to fly to Ecuador a natural disaster took place preventing the flight. I asked the airline people at the airport to put me on a flight to any S. American country, which they did.
Another thought is that - unusually for a virus - it is young adults who are most vulnerable
The main killer in Flu outbreaks is a cytokine storm, where the bodys immune system starts to go into overdrive. Hence healthy young adults being more vunerable.
A quote from Wiki:
It is believed that cytokine storms were responsible for many of the deaths during the 1918 influenza pandemic, which killed a disproportionate number of young adults. In this case, a healthy immune system may have been a liability rather than an asset. Preliminary research results from Hong Kong also indicated this as the probable reason for many deaths during the SARS epidemic in 2003. Human deaths from the bird flu H5N1 usually involve cytokine storms as well. Recent reports of high mortality among healthy young adults in the 2009 swine flu outbreak point to cytokine storms as being responsible for these deaths
sorry Ali - just realised you wrote about the same thing!
although the WHO has stated that is likely impossible by this point already
Yes, the incubation period is apparently 5-7 days.
spreading like wildfire, throughout mexico and in the u.s. ( 40 cases confirmed as of today here in the U.S. ) and i just heard it hit spain and new zeland already this weekend also...
There seems to be a lot of worry here in Europe that it will spread to here. I didnt know it had already hit Spain though. I suppose Spain would be the most likely place to be hit first, because a lot of Spanish people would want to go to Spanish speaking countries for a holiday.
That flu seems vile. I think if I was planning to go to Mexico I would change destination. Nothing is worth picking up a deadly flu for and possibly spreading it to other countries and maybe even your own family and friends.
not to make light of anything, but Mr Ryanair has been his usual eloquent self on the matter:
Quote from The Guardian
"Michael O'Leary, the outspoken boss of the Irish budget airline Ryanair, has added his blunt words to the situation, according to AFP.
"It is a tragedy only for people living in slums in Asia or Mexico, but will the honeymoon couple from Edinburgh die? No," he told journalists.
He added: "A couple of Strepsils will do the job."
God, that man is an idiot.
I just heard on the news that the first cases of Swine Flu have reached Germany. A flight with infected German holiday makers just arrived in Germany from Mexico. I didnt catch which city they flew into. So what happens now? Do they quarantine these people, or are we all at risk of picking up this flu from them?
Mel, yes, that seems to be the case.
I have just been watching the morning news, they were at Manchester airport interviewing people who have just been flown back from Mexico. The UK were making noises about screening people for temperatures/flu like symptoms (as were other countries, bit of a waste of time IMO as the incubation period is so long anyway) but the passengers that were being interviewed said that nothing happend, they were just handed a leaflet about the so called 'swine' flu and let on their way. I am not saying that passengers should be quarentined on arrival, but there is always the risk that someone is carrying the virus, and God knows how many people they would come into contact with. Something stinks with all of this anyway, I would love to know whats behind it all really.
Thanks for the infor Terry Ann. 😊
The Bavarian health minister is now saying a bunch about this to people living here in Bavaria. I still dont know which city the flu is now in. But I suppose it is only a matter of time before it is here because Munich has a huge international airport.
Also, I have been trying to find the online link from the New Scientist (I am a big geek, lol) but one quote stated: "This virus is named swine flu because one of its surface proteins is most similar to viruses that usually infect pigs. But we've never seen this particular virus in pigs before"
All this trying to find infected pigs nonsense is just another big cover up/stalling operation. The virus is a combination of swine, avian and human flu. So they should be looking for a human/bird/pig hybrid with a runny nose 😊 Many scientists are beginging to speak out with their opinions of it being a man made virus. If the virus origionalted from pigs, there would be huge numbers of sick pigs in Mexico, so far, they have not found one case.
Will stop banging on now, beacuse as well as having studied virology, I am also the biggest conspriacy freak you will ever meet, not a good combination in a situation like this!
Perhaps we could start a new thread, leaving this one for purely travel-related advice that should stay on TravelBlog's front page for the next couple of weeks, and the second one in the chat forum to discuss the virus itself, from a geeky/conspiracy theorist/current affairs perspective?
Good idea - done - Ali
The infected German who was in Mexico is here in Bavaria. He has been isolated and has to wear a mask and has to take some other precautions. The other passangers on the plane apparently were not infected with the virus and have been set free.