Saturday, April 25, 2009

Swine Flu Outbreak

Strange reports are coming out of Mexico City following the outbreak of swine flu, which has killed at least 20 people so far. This is what the beginning of an epidemic looks like; unlike the bird flu scare, which began with isolated cases, this is an intensive cluster. It's also what a false alarm looks like; by the time we know how rapidly the outbreak is spreading, it will either be over or uncontainable. In the meantime, rumor will outrun fact for a while:

I work as a resident doctor in one of the biggest hospitals in Mexico City and sadly, the situation is far from "under control". As a doctor, I realise that the media does not report the truth. Authorities distributed vaccines among all the medical personnel with no results, because two of my partners who worked in this hospital (interns) were killed by this new virus in less than six days even though they were vaccinated as all of us were. The official number of deaths is 20, nevertheless, the true number of victims are more than 200. I understand that we must avoid to panic, but telling the truth it might be better now to prevent and avoid more deaths.

Yeny Gregorio Dávila, Mexico City

The situation in Mexico City is really not normal. There is a sense of uncertainty that borders on paranoid behaviour in some cases. At this very moment, Mexican TV is showing how military forces are giving masks to the people in the streets. Moreover the news is sending alarming messages for the audience. Really, the atmosphere in the city is unsettling, a good example: pubs and concerts are being closed or cancelled and people don't haven thorough information. In this city (and country) there is an urgent need for assertive information, no paranoid messages from the government or the Mexican media.

Patricio Barrientos and Aranzazu Nuñez, Mexico City

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