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sábado, 25 de abril de 2009

Swine Flu Cases in Kansas, Possibly NYC

ABC News Medical Unit

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment has confirmed at least two cases of swine flu in the state, while the New York City Department of Public Health reported at least eight out of an estimated 100 students at a Queens prepatory school who displayed flu-like symptoms likely have the infection.

PHOTO Swine Flu Vaccinations
Clockwise from left: People, wearing surgical masks as a precaution against infection, stand in line... Expand
(AP Photos)

Meanwhile, Imperial County health officials reported that San Diego has yet another case of the swine flu strain that has killed up to 68 people in Mexico.

The escalation in the swine flu situation on Saturday underscored concerns by international, federal and local health agencies over the threat of the new virus, even as government health officials said much remains unknown.

But if one thing is clear about the spread of this virus, it is that containment is no longer an option.

"It's clear that this is widespread," said Dr. Anne Schuchat, director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, at a press conference Saturday afternoon.

"We do not think that we can contain the spread of this virus," Schuchat added. "Having found virus where we have found it, we are very likely to find it in other places. ... We are not at a point where we can keep this virus in just one place."

The cases further demonstrate that health officials do not know where else the virus might turn up. Details of swine flu's spread in Mexico also remain murky. A team sent by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now on the ground there seeking clues on the origin and spread of the disease.

What also remains unclear is why the virus seems to have led to more severe illness in Mexico than in the U.S. -- at least for now.

"What we still don't know is how widespread it is," said Dr. William Schaffner, chairman of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn. "The question is: How long have things been going on in Mexico, and how attentive have they been in terms of what's going on in their country?"

Meanwhile, emergency departments in affected areas are preparing for what they said could be a rise in cases.

"It is quite conceivable that it could escalate fairly rapidly," said Dr. Richard Bradley, chief of the Division of EMS and Disaster Medicine at the University of Texas Health Sciences Center at Houston. "If we are seeing a flu epidemic in Mexico, we should expect an uptick fairly quickly in Texas, where I am, and in California."

Emergency Departments Make Swine Flu Preparations

Still, Bradley said that the situation thus far has been relatively fortunate.

"Right now, we are in the increased awareness phase -- we don't yet know how this is going to develop," he said. "Fortunately, right now the cases in California and in Texas seem to be milder than the cases we've seen in Mexico. We hope that this trend continues in the U.S."

Emergency departments in other areas of the country also are stepping up efforts to control the virus should it surface.

Another question that remains is whether health agencies reacted quickly enough to the initial reports of swine infections in Mexico, first reported in mid-March.

"I think that the laboratory testing capabilities for this type of virus were not fully in place and this accounts for some of the delay," said Dr. Pascal James Imperato, dean of the Graduate Program in Public Health at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. "They were not routinely testing for this type of influenza virus."

Still, other infectious disease experts said that there should have been quicker action. Dr. Lewis Goldfrank, professor and chairman of the Department of Emergency Medicine at Bellevue Hospital in New York City said that though no cases have been detected in his emergency department yet, any patient who comes in with a cough and a fever or a rash and a fever is isolated for a nasal swab to detect influenza -- a test that takes about an hour.

The possible outbreak in the New York area suggests the measures may be warranted.

New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Frieden said in a statement on Saturday that more than 100 students at St. Francis Prepatory School in Queens have reported flu-like symptoms including headaches, upset stomachs and dizziness. The Health Department subsequently encouraged all of the affected students to get tested for the flu, and there are now eight probable cases of swine flu.

Currently, the CDC is performing additional tests to determine whether swine flu indeed is the culprit, according to the statement.

"Most of the patients reported mild symptoms. No child was hospitalized or seriously ill," the statement read. "The CDC results should be available by Sunday. If the results are positive -- the Health Department will recommend that the school close on Monday."

Concern over the outbreaks have reached the highest levels of the federal government, as well.

White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said that the president has been briefed and is "being kept up-to-date" in the swine flu situation.

The Homeland Security Council, under the leadership of terrorism czar John Brennan, is heading up the administration's efforts to handle the situation and is working with the CDC, the State Department and the Mexican government.

"The president will continue to get updated on what's going on, as will Brennan ... and others in the government, as the situation develops," Gibbs said.
I concur that the 'one-month lag' between case identification and reporting was too long," said Ed Hsu, associate professor of Public Health Informatics at the University of Texas School of Health Information Sciences and School of Public Health. "[It is a] good thing that the CDC now decides to have a daily briefing on the swine flu, but it will still need to bring the transparency of reporting in other high-risk countries up to speed on this."

And despite the actions by the World Health Organization with regard to the swine flu outbreaks, no decision has yet been made to increase the pandemic threat level from its current status of phase 3 to phase 4 on the six-point scale. A virus isn't considered to be pandemic until it reaches phase 6.

WHO did announce, however, that it has sent a team of experts to Mexico to further study the outbreaks.

Still Too Early to Worry?

Despite the action being taken by national and international health organizations, some infectious disease experts say it is far too early to fear the worst -- a global flu pandemic.

"The current swine flu only marginally meets only one of three of pandemic tests: effective person-to-person transmission," Hsu said, adding that the other tests -- susceptibility and no natural immunity or vaccine -- remain to be satisfied.

Hsu further noted that compared to the H5N1 strain of the avian flu virus -- commonly known as bird flu -- the current H1N1 swine flu strain is still a relative lightweight. Since 2003, he said, bird flu has garnered a 60 percent case fatality rate, and it never attained pandemic status. Meanwhile, the current swine flu strain still has fewer than 1,000 reported cases and only about 60 fatalities to its name.

"If not [a pandemic] then, why now?" he asked.

"It would be an Olympic sprint for vaccine manufacturers, starting today" to have a usable vaccine ready even by October, he said.

"If this is a virus that is sufficiently new -- and that has not been entirely determined yet -- we may need two doses of the vaccine to get protection," Schaffner said. "That, of course, would put additional strain on the vaccine production and delivery services."

Huma Khan and Michelle Schlief contributed to this report.

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26/10/2008 free counters

Will Obama End America's 'Arrogant Paternalism' Toward Latin America?

The opening ceremony: Obama also stated that: "I firmly believe that if we're willing to break free from the arguments and ideologies of an earlier era and continue to act, as we have at this summit, with a sense of mutual responsibility and mutual respect and mutual interest, then each of our nations can come out of this challenging period stronger and more prosperous."

While there, Obama talked on a number of occasions with Hugo Chavez, the leftist president of Venezuela. Chavez has been an extremely vocal critic of the US, but he told Hillary Clinton that he would send an ambassador back to Washington, DC.

Obama was accompanied by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The two have been working to forge a new working relation between the US and its southern neighbors.

US President Barack Obama attended the three-day Summit of the Americas, which ended on Sunday and was held in Port of Spain, Trinidad. The meeting brought together the government leaders of 34 countries.

At the Summit of the Americas, President Obama pledged a fresh start in relations with Latin America. But German commentators doubt that promises and patting shoulders with Hugo Chavez will mend a long history of animosity and mistrust.

On Sunday, US President Barack Obama ended a four-day charm offensive in Mexico and at the Summit of the Americas held in Trinidad. While on the trip, he admitted to mistakes in US policy toward its southern neighbors and pledged to work toward a "new beginning."

In particular, Obama used remarks delivered at the end of the three-day meeting -- which discussed energy, security and other measures -- to underline his commitment to easing strained relations with Cuba. "The policy we've had in place for 50 years has not worked," Obama told reporters Sunday. "The Cuban people are not free."

Earlier in the week, Obama had lifted restrictions on Americans who want to visit or send money to relatives in Cuba as well as on US telecommunications companies wishing to do business there. However, his administration still says it has no plans to lift a ban on nearly all trade that has been in force since 1962, which Cuba's government blames for frequent shortages of medicine and other basic necessities.

Cuba responded by saying it was open to talks, including those on the formerly taboo issue of human rights. In his statements, Obama added that Cuba might also consider releasing political prisoners and reducing the fees taken out of money sent to Cubans from abroad.

Obama also surprised -- and angered -- many by meeting and shaking hands with Venezuela's leftist president, Hugo Chavez, who has been the loudest among several anti-American voices in the region and even likened former US President George W. Bush to the devil. Chavez also gave Obama a book about the history of foreign powers exploiting Latin America, and he told Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that he would restore Venezuela's ambassador to the US.

On a state visit to Mexico last week, Obama admitted that America's appetite for illegal drugs was partially to blame for the drug-related violence in that country and that the US was not doing enough to stop the flow of weapons and cash into Mexico.

German commentators generally applaud Obama's decisions and statements. But most of them also doubt that Obama's good intentions will do much to help mend America's troubled relations with its southern neighbors.

The center-left Süddeutsche Zeitung writes:

"Now there is a change in public opinion (about the US in Latin America), and the new man in the White House has brought it about. In his debut at the Summit of the Americas in Trinidad, Barack Obama found the right words. If he is able to transform those words into actions, the continent's northern and southern parts will be able to come back together. When they visited Mexico recently, Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton already showed that they listen to reason when they admitted that the US bore partial responsibility for the Mexican drug wars because it consumed the drugs and put weapons and dollars into the hands of the drug cartels. In Trinidad, the Obama administration also admitted to another mistake that the Bush administration would have never admitted to: that the US policies toward Cuba had failed. …"

"Obama is now offering to cooperate with Cuba and is asking the Cubans to make counteroffers. Although the government in Havana is now willing to talk about political prisoners, it is not very eager to debate democracy. This process of rapprochement by these neighbors might last a while, but it could also crumble very quickly. This transformation in relations might be unavoidable for the Castros, but it is still risky. …"

"When it comes to Latin America, what America needs to show is a willingness to work together fairly rather than arrogant paternalism. … In 1823, then-US President James Monroe called on Europeans to not recolonize Latin America ('America for Americans'), and the majority of countries -- stretching from Mexico to Chile -- immediately gained their independence. In the Obama era, it should be about 'Latin America for Latin Americans.'"

Left-leaning Die Tageszeitung writes:

"Obama's calls for a 'new beginning' and 'an equal partnership' had a positive reception. But the mistrust that Latin Americans have toward their large neighbor to the north runs very deep. The fact that there is a new person in the White House changes little. The older among them remember that Nixon followed Kennedy, that Reagan followed Carter, and that Bush followed Clinton. Even if they are placing a lot of hope in the possibility that Obama might bring a fresh wind to their political relations, there is still very little evidence that there will be an actual realignment."

"Jimmy Carter also relaxed travel restrictions with Cuba; but the economic embargo remained in place. The real question isn't whether Latin America is ready to for a new beginning. Instead, it's whether Obama can really push through 'an equal partnership' at the domestic policy level."

Left-leaning Berliner Zeitung writes:

"If the US really wants to reestablish a political foothold on the subcontinent that it lost during the era of George W. Bush, it will have to redefine its relationship with Cuba. The Obama administration's most recent enactments are aimed at doing just that. … This will surely bring additional currency into Cuba. But more communication and more exchanges of ideas will also surely bring new problems to the regime, which continues to label exiled Cubans as 'vermin' and punish people who own satellite dishes. And when it comes to the blockade … it looks like only a matter of time before the US relaxes or -- as many Latin American countries have demanded -- completely lifts it. At that point, Cuba will finally have to decide whether it will open itself up more in political terms or whether it will further isolate itself. And, at that point, it might even become harder for the leftist governments of Latin American countries to keep silent about the Caribbean dictatorship."

Business daily Financial Times Deutschland writes:

"Hugo Chavez's offer of friendship to Barack Obama at the Summit of the Americas … is far from meaning that relations between the US and its Latin American neighbors will really improve in a substantive way. But, given the rough words he delivered in the run-up to the summit and his promises to try to veto any final resolutions, Chavez's charm offensive against Obama seems completely surprising. It raises the suspicion that Chavez made a cost-benefit analysis and determined that having Obama's radiant smile fall on him would only augment his personal glamour factor. … But flirting with Obama will only make it harder for heads of state like Chavez to use the evil US as the only way to lend legitimacy to their anti-liberal campaigns. But a streetwise populist like him will also be able to find a way out of this dilemma by drawing a distinction between his dear pal Obama and his evil capitalist system."

-- Josh Ward, 3:00 p.m. CEST

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How the German Catholic Church Protected a Pedophile Priest

By Peter Wensierski

The German Catholic Church has been sheltering a priest convicted of child abuse for years. Now the pedophile, who refuses to undergo therapy, has hired private detectives to try to get his former victims to retract their testimony.

It was raining heavily in Sonnefeld in the southern German region of Franconia when two men rang Joyce Kaitesi's doorbell one day in March. She quickly opened the door to let them in out of the rain. One of the men asked her whether they could speak with her son about the matter with the parish priest -- a case of sexual abuse that had happened 10 years earlier.

The mother of the abused boy asked the men who they were. "We're neutral parties," the strangers replied.


Then the two men became more direct. The priest, they said, could be innocent. The boy had been very young and easily influenced at the time, and perhaps his view of the alleged incident had changed in the interim, the men said.

Kaitesi soon realized what was going on. "Did the priest send you? That child molester hasn't apologized to this day! For two years, I had to look after my child and calm him down, and now you show up here, trying to stir things up again? You should be ashamed of yourselves!"


only visit that these men in dark suits have recently paid to former victims of child abuse. The detectives, who were traveling through rural Bavaria on behalf of Wolfdieter Weiss, a Catholic priest, were on a mission to find other young people whose testimony had led to the priest's conviction for sexual abuse of children. Weiss hopes to get his case reopened with the help of new statements in which the alleged victims retract their earlier testimony.

This is not just a surprisingly audacious course of action for a servant of God, whose sentence was most recently upheld by Germany's Federal Court of Justice in 2001, but it also highlights a culture of looking the other way that still prevents the Catholic Church from effectively addressing the problem of child abuse within its ranks -- and apparently even encourages a number of pedophiles to act out their proclivities under the protective cloak of the church.

Until recently, Father Weiss could depend on the support of his fellow priests. Even though the Archdiocese of Würzburg had to assure the court that Weiss would never be allowed to come into contact with children again, he recently delivered sermons and celebrated mass with other Franconian priests who are friends of his -- in services that included altar boys.

Despite reports to the police, parents' complaints and more convictions, Weiss was merely quietly transferred from one place to another. This support on the part of the church, which went on for years, only reinforced Weiss's belief in his own innocence. Only now, after Weiss had hired detectives to obtain new testimony, did something happen that the victims and their families expected long ago: Weiss, who is retired, was suspended as a priest, and his benefits were reduced by 20 percent. But for Kaitesi, the mother of one of his victims, this remains a half-hearted reaction. "Why doesn't the church finally make up its mind to defrock him?" she asks.

Weiss first came to the attention of the courts in the Archdiocese of Würzburg in 1985, after he had kissed and placed his hand inside the trousers of several children in Miltenberg, a town near Würzburg. He received his first conviction and was ordered to pay a fine of 8,000 German marks (€4,090). In return, the case was closed. Despite the conviction, Weiss, with the help of Raban Tilmann, the then-vicar general in the city of Limburg in the state of Hesse, was simply transferred to another parish 170 kilometers (106 miles) away.

A few years later, Father Weiss had to leave his new parish in Ransbach-Baumbach, a town in the Archdiocese of Limburg, after altar boys reported new instances of sexual abuse. Weiss admitted to the church that in his new rectorate, he had also "stroked children because he likes them." Tilmann chose not to take disciplinary action and sent him to work as a pastor in a Frankfurt hospital, ignoring claims that he had touched children inappropriately during hospital visits. In 1992, Limburg transferred the pastor to the Archdiocese of Bamberg in Bavaria, apparently with good references.

Today, Alois Albrecht, who was the vicar general responsible for Bamberg at the time, is sharply critical of that decision. Albrecht says that he felt "quite taken in" by his fellow priests in Limburg, because he had not been "fully informed," even though the personnel department in Limburg was aware of the "scope of the crimes."

In 1998, Weiss, while serving as a pastor in Ebersdorf near the Bavarian town of Coburg, and at St. Mary's Church in nearby Sonnefeld, was back to molesting children. At the beginning of a Christmas mass, one father went up to the altar and shouted out to the congregation: "This man has sexually abused my son several times." The rest of his words were drowned out by organ music.

There was another court case. In its verdict, the Coburg Regional Court wrote that Weiss had "stroked the bare buttocks" of two children and had touched another child "on the behind and the genitalia through clothing." In each case, the verdict read, he had done these things "for sexual gratification." According to the court, the consequences of Weiss's actions in the case of Joyce Kaitesi's son, who was one of the victims, amounted to "serious emotional damage following the crime … with anxiety states." Weiss was sentenced to two years probation.

Weiss claims that he is merely giving the children "fatherly affection, when I stroke them," and he refuses to call it abuse or molestation. He admits having offered children money to sit on his lap. "I always knew where the boundary lies between sexual activity and tenderness," he insists. "It may be that I touched someone on the buttocks once, but I don't consider the buttocks a sexual part of the body."

Weiss has fashioned his own little world in his Würzburg apartment, which is filled with stacks of documents and files with which he intends to prove his innocence. He is very happy to present a pile of letters from his supporters. Apparently Father Weiss is not the only one who, after years of the church downplaying and even supporting the abuser, has yielded to the delusion that he is innocent.

"Even within the church, there remains to this day a broad group of supporters consisting of priests and members of religious orders," Karl Hillenbrand, the current vicar general of Würzburg, admits. "These people encourage him and even support him financially." A number of gullible Catholic women paid Weiss's first fine of 8,000 German marks. As for the 12,000 German marks in compensation that Kaitesi's son received, Weiss did not have to pay that either -- it was covered by statutory accident insurance, because the incident occurred in a school. Given that the perpetrator did not have to suffer much as a consequence of his actions, he may not have realized that what he was doing was wrong.

While Catholic priests who publicly admit to being in a relationship with a woman are quickly shown the door, the pedophile Weiss was allowed to retain his status as a priest, despite the repeated incidents. In addition, the Würzburg archdiocese even provided him with a large, church-owned apartment. Today, he lives comfortably and inexpensively in a building occupied by deserving clergy from the archdiocese.

"If someone is given that much respect, how can he feel guilty?" asks Matthias Wimmer, one of his former victims in Miltenberg. "I can still see the image of his parish office. He used to invite us in, took me and other children on his lap, caress our ears and then stroke our naked buttocks. He offered us money. We were nine or 10 years old, and we didn't know what was happening, but it was unpleasant."

Court documents reveal the extent to which church officials provided for their fallen brother. For example, shortly after Weiss was convicted in 2000, the Würzburg head of personnel, Heinz Geist, saw to it that the perpetrator's moving costs would be reimbursed, and he encouraged Weiss to do some archiving work at home, because he was still being paid his old salary. As Geist himself wrote: "The vicar general is concerned that some hack will figure out that you are refusing to work in the archives, and will turn that into an article. Then the whole thing will start all over again."

Father Josef Grotz, who was in charge of training priests in Würzburg for many years, probably also put the idea into Weiss's head that he was innocent. Grotz wrote sympathetic letters to "Dear Wolfdieter" which were intended to ease the priest's conscience. In 1993, for example, after Weiss's activities had already been noticed in two places, Grotz defended the priest's work with young people: "You don't think any malicious thoughts, but others immediately construe your actions as malicious. The tiniest things are used against you all too quickly. And you know what stupid things children can say when they are interrogated by suspicious people."

In a letter to Weiss in 1999, Grotz bragged about how he had protected "dear Wolfdieter" from the press. "The caller also knew about the ruling by the Obernburg Regional Court. I claimed that you were acquitted at the time … I can imagine that some journalist is putting together yet another program about sexual offences committed by Catholic priests and is tracking down every lead he happens to come across, regardless of how he came up with those leads in the first place."

The tacit collusion within the church has provided food for thought for the vicar general Karl Hillenbrand. "The Weiss case has made it clear to me that perpetrators of abuse always need a protective environment -- sympathizers and people in their surroundings who tolerate them," he says.

Hillenbrand recently made his own policy of zero tolerance clear to the pedophile, who refuses to undergo any therapy. According to Hillenbrand, he saw Weiss on the main square in Würzburg as he was watching a children's festival sponsored by Bavarian Public Radio and the city. Weiss made excuses for his presence there, telling Hillenbrand that he was just waiting for someone who was attending mass.

The vicar general, however, did not believe his subordinate and ordered him to leave the area. After all, mass had ended hours earlier.

Translated from the German by Christopher Sultan

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26/10/2008 free counters

Mexico City cancels all public events to fight flu

Related Topics: MEXICO CITY
Dados cartográficos ©2009 Tele Atlas, LeadDog Consulting - Termos de Uso
MEXICO CITY (Map, News) - A deadly new swine flu strain that has killed at least 20 people in Mexico City and sickened more than 1,000 has "pandemic potential," the World Health Organization chief said Saturday - but some fear it may be too late to contain the outbreak.
MEXICO CITY (Map, News) - A deadly new swine flu strain that has killed at least 20 people in Mexico City and sickened more than 1,000 has "pandemic potential," the World Health Organization chief said Saturday - but some fear it may be too late to contain the outbreak.

With 24 new suspected cases of the swine flu reported Saturday, Mexico City said schools would remain closed and all public events suspended until further notice - including more than 500 concerts, sporting events and other gatherings including the popular weekly bicycle rides on streets closed to traffic.

A hotline set up the previous day fielded 2,366 calls from frightened city residents who suspected they might have the disease. City Health Secretary Armando Ahued said 10 new possible cases of infection have been discovered in the metropolis of 20 million people.

Officials say more than 1,000 people have been infected nationwide. Tests show 20 people have died of the swine flu, and 48 other deaths were probably due to the same strain.

This virus is a mix of human, pig and bird strains that has epidemiologists around the world deeply concerned. The World Health Organization convened in Geneva Saturday to consider whether to declare an international public health emergency - a step that could lead to travel advisories, trade restrictions and border closures.

The agency's director-general, Margaret Chan, said the outbreak involves "an animal strain of the H1N1 virus, and it has pandemic potential" - but it is too early to say whether a pandemic will actually occur.

The CDC and Canadian health officials were studying samples sent from Mexico, and some governments in Asia and Latin America began monitoring passengers arriving on flights from Mexico.

But it may be too late to contain the outbreak, given how widespread the known cases are. If the confirmed deaths are the first signs of a pandemic, then cases are probably incubating around the world by now, said Dr. Michael Osterholm, a pandemic flu expert at the University of Minnesota.

The same virus also sickened at least eight people in Texas and California, though there have been no deaths north of the border, puzzling experts at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

No vaccine specifically protects against swine flu, and it is unclear how much protection current human flu vaccines might offer.
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Aumentan a 81 las muertes probables por gripe porcina en México, 1.324 personas están hospitalizadas


Calderón asume por decreto el control sanitario ante la emergencia en el paí

  • Los funcionarios podrán ingresar a cualquier inmueble público o privado del país
Una turista, en un acto de purificación. (Foto: EFE)
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Una turista, en un acto de purificación. (Foto: EFE)


CIUDAD DE MÉXICO.- El mandatario mexicano, Felipe Calderón, ha asumido por decreto presidencial todo el control de estado de emergencia sanitario que vive México tras el brote de gripe porcina, principalmente en el centro del país.

La enfermedad, que se ha cobrado ya más de 60 víctimas mortales en el país, es "muy grave" y "tiene el potencial de una pandemia", ha adverido la directora general de la OMS, Margaret Chan, en una sesión de emergencia de los expertos en enfermedades infecciosas.

En base al decreto aprobado, los funcionarios del Gobierno mexicano podrán ingresar a cualquier inmueble público o privado del país, incluidos los domicilios particulares, como parte de las medidas acordadas para hacer frente al brote de gripe porcina. La norma impone además el aislamiento físico de los posibles contagiados.

Las autoridades sanitarias de la capital mexicana, la zona más afectada del país por el brote de gripe porcina, aseguraron, no obstante, que no se han presentado desde ayer, nuevas muertes a causa del mal, y que analizan a 24 pacientes posiblemente infectados. En una horas se hará público un nuevo informe sobre la situación en las últimas horas y posibles medidas a tomar en las siguientes horas.
La capital, paralizada

El brote de gripe porcina afecta principalmente a los habitantes de la capital del país y del vecino Estado de México, y hasta el momento se ha cobrado la vida de 60 personas.

Ello obligó a las autoridades a suspender el viernes todas las clases en escuelas y universidades en la región, y Calderón advirtió que la suspensión de las actividades educativas "podría ampliarse durante toda la semana siguiente, mientras dure la alerta y se logre el control de esta enfermedad". Además, recomendó a las personas cubrirse la boca al estornudar y en caso de presentar algún síntoma de resfriado no automedicarse para evitar esconder los síntomas de esta enfermedad y visitar los servicios médicos de forma inmediata. Por otra parte, y en el mismo acto, Calderón puso en marcha "Las caravanas de la salud", que a través de 400 unidades móviles se dará apoyo de contingencia en el sur del país por la influencia porcina.

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26/10/2008 free counters

El 'abc' de la gripe porcina

Un vendedor ambulante de mascarillas protectoras, en las calles de México D.F. | Efe

Un vendedor ambulante de mascarillas protectoras, en las calles de México D.F. | Efe

Actualizado sábado 25/04/2009 17:57


MÉXICO D.F..- El brote de gripe porcina que afecta a la capital mexicana ha matado ya a más de 60 personas y afecta ya a otro millar. La Organización Mundial de la Salud ha preparado un documento con las preguntas más frecuentes sobre la enfermedad.

- ¿Qué es la gripe porcina?

Se trata de una enfermedad respiratoria altamente contagiosa que afecta a los cerdos, ocasionada por uno de los virus A de la gripe porcina. Su morbilidad suele ser alta y su mortalidad baja (1-4%). El virus se contagia entre los cerdos por aerosol y mediante contacto directo e indirecto. Los virus más frecuentes son del tipo H1N1, aunque también circulan entre los cerdos otros virus, como el H1N2 o el H3N1. Los brotes entre los cerdos se producen con frecuencia, fundamentalmente en otoño e invierno.

- ¿Cómo afecta a la salud humana?

Ocasionalmente se ha informado de brotes e infecciones esporádicas de gripe porcina en humanos. Generalmente, los síntomas clínicos son similares a la gripe común, pero su presentación clínica es muy amplia, desde una infección asintomática a una severa pulmonía que acabe en la muerte.

Como la clásica presentación clínica de la gripe porcina en humanos se parece a la gripe común (fiebre, tos, cefaleas...) y otras infecciones agudas del tracto respiratorio, la mayoría de los casos han sido detectados por casualidad, mediante el sistema de vigilancia de la gripe común. Los casos leves o asintomáticos pueden haber escapado a la detección, de modo que se desconoce el alcance real de esta enfermedad entre humanos.

- ¿Cómo se produce el contagio?

Normalmente la gente se contagia a través de cerdos enfermos, aunque algunos casos humanos se han producido sin contacto con estos animales. La transmisión entre humanos se ha producido en algunos casos, pero ha estado limitado a contactos muy cercanos y grupos cerrados de gente.

- ¿Es seguro comer cerdo y productos porcinos?

SÍ. La gripe porcina no se contagia a la gente mediante el consumo de carne de cerdo adecuadamente procesada o preparada o a través de otros productos derivados del cerdo. El virus de la gripe porcina es eliminado al cocinar a temperaturas de 70º C.

- ¿Existe riesgo de una pandemia?

Es probable que la mayoría de la gente, sobre todo aquellos que no tienen contacto regular con cerdos, no tengan inmunidad a los virus de la gripe porcina que pueden evitar la infección de este virus. Si un virus de la gripe porcina lograse contagiarse eficazmente entre humanos, podría causar una pandemia (epidemia mundial).

El impacto de una pandemia ocasionada por este tipo de virus es difícil de predecir: depende de la virulencia del virus, la inmunidad existente entre la gente, la protección cruzada que pudiesen conferir los anticuerpos de la gripe común. Los virus de la gripe porcina pueden dar lugar a un virus híbrido mezclándose con un virus de la gripe humana y causando una pandemia.

- ¿Hay una vacuna humana para proteger de la gripe porcina?

No. Los virus de la gripe cambian muy rápidamente y la coincidencia entre la vacuna y los virus circulantes es muy importante para dar una adecuada inmunidad a la gente vacunada. Por eso la OMS necesita seleccionar virus dos veces al año para la vacuna de la gripe común.

La actual vacuna antigripal producida bajo las recomendaciones de la OMS no contiene virus de la gripe porcina. No se sabe si las vacunas de la gripe pueden proporcionar una protección cruzada frente al actual brote de gripe porcina en EEUU y México. La OMS está trabajando de cerca con otras instituciones para un nuevo aviso sobre el empleo de la vacuna de la gripe común para prevenir la infección de la gripe porcina.

- ¿Existe tratamiento para la gripe porcina?

Los fármacos antivirales para la gripe común están disponibles en algunos países y previenen y tratan la enfermedad de manera eficaz. Hay dos clases de estos fármacos: los adamantanes (amantadina y remantadina) y los inhibidores de la neuraminidasa (oseltamivir y zanamivir).

La mayoría de los casos previos de gripe porcina se recuperaron totalmente de la enfermedad sin necesitar atención médica ni fármacos antivirales.

Algunos virus influenza desarrollan resistencias a los antivirales, limitando la eficacia de la profilaxis y tratamiento. Los virus obtenidos de los recientes casos humanos en EEUU respondieron a oseltamivir y zanamivir, pero eran resistentes a amantadine y remantadine.

La información es insuficiente para hacer recomendaciones sobre el empleo de antivirales en la prevención y tratamiento de la infección por gripe porcina. Los médicos tienen que tomar decisiones basándose en las evaluaciones clínicas y epidemiológicas y en el balance daños/beneficios del tratamiento al paciente. Para el actual brote en EEUU y México, las autoridades nacionales y locales recomiendan usar oselatmivir o zanamivir para el tratamiento y prevención de la enfermedad basándose en el perfil de susceptibilidad del virus.

Recomendaciones para evitar el contagio de la gripe común

Estas son unas recomendaciones básicas para evitar el contagio de la gripe común, facilitadas por el departamento de salud mexicano.

* Mantenerse alejados de las personas que tengan infección respiratoria
* No saludar con besos ni dando la mano
* No compartir alimentos, vasos o cubiertos
* Ventilar y permitir la entrada del sol en la casa, las oficinas y en todos los lugares cerrados
* Mantener limpias las cubiertas de cocina y baño, utensilios, así como juguetes, teléfonos u objetos de uso común
En caso de presentar un cuadro de fiebre alta de manera repentina, tos, dolor de cabeza, muscular y de articulaciones, se deberá de acudir de inmediato a su médico o a su unidad de salud
* Abrigarse y evitar cambios bruscos de temperatura
* Comer frutas y verduras ricas en vitaminas A y C (zanahoria, papaya, guayaba, naranja, mandarina, lima, limón y piña)
* Lavarse las manos frecuentemente con agua y jabón
* Evitar exposición a contaminantes ambientales
* No fumar en lugares cerrados ni cerca de niños, ancianos o enfermos
* Acudir al médico inmediatamente si se presentan los síntomas

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Brasil rechaza y apoya en el mismo día la presencia de España en el G-20

Actualizado sábado 25/04/2009 23:25

WASHINGTON.- El ministro de Hacienda de Brasil, Guido Mantega, ha conminado a los líderes del G-20 a discutir las normas que regulan la presencia de países invitados en las cumbres, aunque su posición, al respecto ha resultado algo confusa. En referencia a la participación de España, que no asistió a la reunión del pasado viernes en Washington, pero sí a las dos anteriores, Mantega se declaró tanto en contra, por la mañana, como a favor, posteriormente, en una rueda de prensa junto a Elena Salgado.

El ministro de Brasil dijo primero a la prensa que se deben cumplir las normas del G-20 y "lo que no puede haber -añadió- es el arbitrio del país que esté conduciendo los trabajos para invitar a quien sabe quién".

"Está claro que a Brasil le gustaría tener a España, por ejemplo, de nuestro lado, porque España es un país muy próximo de Brasil, que tiene inversiones en el país, pero no podríamos hacer eso porque estaríamos violando reglas" del G-20, dijo Mantega, quien precisó que "EEUU, que fue el anfitrión (de la reunión del viernes), cumplió a rajatabla las reglas del G-20" al no invitar a España.

España, 'no forma parte'

Preguntado si España, que reivindica su lugar como octava potencia económica, podrá participar en los encuentros futuros del G-20, Mantega afirmó que "por las reglas actuales no forma parte (del grupo), a menos que venga como representante de la Comunidad Europea".

Brasil había apoyado hasta ahora la presencia de España en las cumbres del G-20, formado por países avanzados y en desarrollo, e incluso abrió la puerta para su posible integración en él.

"Sé que a medida que el G-20 se torna un foro importante, numerosos países quieren ingresar, pero hay que tener cuidado porque si no va a perder sus características", explicó Mantega en una rueda de prensa en la sede del Fondo Monetario Internacional (FMI), que celebra hoy y mañana su asamblea conjunta con el Banco Mundial. "Podemos hasta cambiarlo, pero después de un largo debate definiendo los criterios", añadió el ministro brasileño, quien recalcó que su composición actual es "satisfactoria", por su equilibrio entre países industrializados y naciones en desarrollo.

Por la tarde, y ante la presencia de la vicepresidenta segunda del Gobierno español, Mantega quiso "clarificar" su posición asegurando que "no debería haber razones que obstaculicen la participación de España" en el G-20.

Estados Unidos será el encargado de enviar las invitaciones para la próxima cumbre presidencial del G-20, que tendrá lugar en septiembre en Nueva York. Tras esas reuniones, el G-20 se ha convertido en el principal foro de coordinación de la respuesta a la crisis económica a nivel mundial.

En la cumbre de Washington participaron España, Holanda y la República Checa, pese a no pertenecer al G-20, y a la de Londres también fueron España y Holanda. Está previsto que haya una reunión de viceministros de economía del G-20 en mayo, seguida de una de ministros en julio y la de jefes de estado en septiembre.

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La OMS alerta de riesgo de pandemia por el brote en México y EE UU de la rara gripe

La directora del organismo califica la situación de "muy grave" ante el brote del extraño virus declarado en México y EE UU

AGENCIAS / ELPAÍS.com - Ginebra - 25/04/2009

"Es una pandemia potencial porque está infectando a personas": con estas palabras ha definido la directora general de la Organización Mundial de la Salud (OMS), Margaret Chan, la hasta ahora desconocida y extraña gripe que ha matado a al menos a 20 personas en México, y puede haber afectado hasta alrededor 1000 personas.

Estados Unidos

Estados Unidos


República Federal.
303,824,640 (est. 2008)



Ciudad de México.
República Federal.
109,955,400 (est. 2008)

Chan, ha asegurado en su comparecencia ante los medios que el brote de gripe (nuevo virus de la gripe, parecido pero no igual que uno que afecta a los cerdos) ha despertado la alerta en México y Estados Unidos declarado en México y EEUU "es una situación muy grave, que debe ser vigilada de cerca", y que su evolución es impredecible.

La directora general de la OMS ha precisado que "un nuevo virus es el responsable de estos casos", y que "la situación está evolucionando muy rápidamente".El comité de emergencia de la OMS se reunirá esta tarde para determinar una "serie de cuestiones y posiblemente emitir recomendaciones temporales para salvaguardar la salud pública".

Chan, que anoche volvió precipitadamente a Ginebra desde EEUU, donde se encontraba de visita para ponerse al frente de la gestión de esta crisis, ha afirmado que "no hemos identificado otros brotes de la enfermedad en ninguna otra parte del mundo" fuera de México y EEUU. La OMS ha pedido a todos los países que adviertan inmediatamente de si se dan casos anormales de neumonía o de gripe fuera de la estación habitual o de los grupos que suelen ser más afectados, como niños y ancianos.

La directora de la OMS ha desmentido las informaciones de que numerosos trabajadores sanitarios se hubieran contagiado. "En México hay dos trabajadores sanitarios que han contraído la enfermedad, y nuestros expertos están estudiando, con las autoridades mexicanas, en qué circunstancias ha ocurrido", ha subrayado.

La OMS confirmó ayer los primeros casos mortales (20 hasta el momento, aunque se investigan otros 40 fallecimientos ) por infección de este virus mutante en México y otros ocho casos no mortales en EE UU. El virus causa síntomas parecidos a la gripe normal, aunque con más diarrea y vómitos. Sin embargo, la alarma se debe a que se ha comprobado que se transmite de persona a persona, con el consiguiente peligro de que se convierta en una pandemia.

En España, el Ministerio de Sanidad ha celebrado una Comisión de Salud Pública mediante audioconferencia para informar a las comunidades autónomas sobre el brote de en Estados Unidos y México y actuar de forma coordinada.

Sanidad recomienda a los viajeros que se dirijan a las zonas de riesgo que deben seguir una serie de medidas de prevención como extremar el cuidado de su higiene personal lavándose frecuentemente las manos con agua y jabón, cubrirse la nariz y boca al toser o estornudar con un pañuelo y evitar tocarse los ojos, la nariz o la boca. A su regreso, los viajeros deben de prestar atención a su estado de salud en los 10 días siguientes, y en caso de que en este tiempo presenta fiebre, tos o dificultad respiratoria, deben contactar telefónicamente con los servicios sanitarios e informar de su viaje a la zona afectada y la fecha de regreso.

Las aerolíneas deben aislar a los viajeros con síntomas

Las aerolíneas con vuelos procedentes de las zonas afectadas por la gripe porcina deberán proceder a la separación y aislamiento de los viajeros con síntomas relacionados con este tipo de gripe, como fiebre superior a 39 grados, tos, dolor de cabeza intenso o dolores musculares y de articulaciones. Los afectados serán tratados por un solo tripulante provisto de medidas de protección personal. Aeropuertos Españoles y Navegación Aérea (AENA) ha informado que para hoy están previstos tres vuelos procedentes de México en el aeropuerto madrileño de Barajas y uno en el del Prat de Barcelona.

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Alarma en México y EE UU por una rara gripe porcina

La OMS reconoce 12 muertes por este mal que se transmite entre humanos, mientras que el Gobierno mexicano eleva la cifra a 20 fallecimientos e investiga otros 48 y la evolución de más de 900 enfermos

S. CAMARENA / M. R. E. / A. R. - México / Madrid - 25/04/2009

Un nuevo virus de la gripe, similar pero no igual que uno que afecta a los cerdos, ha provocado la alerta en México y Estados Unidos. La Organización Mundial de la Salud (OMS) confirmó ayer 12 casos mortales por infección de este mutante en México, de más de 900 casos sospechosos, que se añaden a ocho casos no mortales en EE UU. El virus provoca síntomas parecidos a la gripe normal, aunque con más diarrea y vómitos. Sin embargo, la alarma se debe a que se ha comprobado que se transmite de persona a persona, con el consiguiente peligro de que se convierta en una pandemia.

    Estados Unidos

    Estados Unidos


    República Federal.
    303,824,640 (est. 2008)



    Ciudad de México.
    República Federal.
    109,955,400 (est. 2008)

Tras aparecer el miércoles una información muy destacada sobre el brote en el diario Reforma, las autoridades mexicanas decretaron a medianoche del jueves la suspensión de todas actividades escolares en el Valle de México, lo que provocó que más de cinco millones de personas se quedaran en casa ayer. El Ministerio de Salud recomendó evitar al máximo asistir a lugares concurridos, así como saludar con la mano o con un beso, y las mascarillas se agotaron en las farmacias.

Según el ministro de Salud, José Ángel Córdova, la cifra comprobada de muertes por el nuevo virus es de 20, pero aún investigaban otros 48 fallecimientos y la evolución de 943 enfermos.

El Gobierno del Distrito Federal, donde se ha dado el mayor número de muertes por gripe, anunció que llevaría a cabo una vacunación masiva una vez que las autoridades federales le proporcionaran un millón de dosis, pero algunos médicos han manifestado dudas sobre la disponibilidad de tal cantidad, así como sobre la utilidad de la vacuna. Los expertos creen que, al tratarse de una variante del virus H1N1, también similar a uno humano, la actual vacuna de la gripe puede proteger parcialmente, pero no hay, por ahora una vacuna para esta cepa del virus.

El presidente Calderón suspendió sus actividades para estar al tanto del control de este brote, que también afecta a San Luis Potosí y Chihuahua, así como a Oaxaca, donde había informes del fallecimiento de una niña.Las autoridades no han dicho si la suspensión de clases continuará el lunes, pero por lo pronto, en el metro de la Ciudad de México, que cada día mueve a más de cinco millones de pasajeros, abundaban los viajeros cubiertos con mascarilla.

La OMS, preocupada

La OMS anunció ayer una próxima reunión de emergencia de expertos para dilucidar si el nuevo virus constituye una amenaza sanitaria internacional. Recalcó que se necesita más información epidemiológica, para conocer la facilidad de transmisión y la extensión actual del nuevo virus, antes de elevar el nivel de alerta (actualmente en 3, de 1 a 6).

En España, Ildefonso Hernández, director general de Salud Pública, declaró: "Seguimos la información con interés, pero de momento ni la OMS ni el Centro Europeo para el Control de Enfermedades (ECDC) ha hecho ninguna recomendación para que se adopten medidas especiales".

"El salto del virus de la gripe porcina a humanos se produce de vez en cuado y no es alarmante desde el punto de vista de riesgo de epidemia", explica Juan Ortín, del Centro Nacional de Biotecnología, experto en virus de la gripe. "No suele haber problemas serios, porque los afectados sufren una gripe normal". Lo inusual, y preocupante, continúa "es que el virus empiece a transmitirse de humano a humano, entre individuos de la especie infectada".

Su colega Luis Enjuanes, también virólogo del mismo centro del CSIC, apunta: "Hay que tener en cuenta que una cosa es que un virus de gripe porcina infecte a un individuo de otra especie y otra que empiece a replicarse y transmitirse en ella, y que se haga virulento; para eso tiene que sufrir cambios, mutaciones, y entonces la situación puede ser muy preocupante".

El director del Centro para el Control de Enfermedades (CDC) estadounidense, Richard Besser, declaró ayer que han dado positivos para el nuevo virus siete de los 14 casos de México que han analizado, que no conocen el origen del brote y que, por ahora, no recomiendan dejar de viajar a California y Texas (donde se han producido los ocho casos) y México. También señaló que se han puesto a trabajar ya en la vacuna para el nuevo virus.

El virus de la gripe porcina tipo H1N1, aislado por primera vez en un cerdo en 1930, provoca alta morbilidad en estos animales pero con una tasa de mortalidad muy baja. Se han dado casos esporádicos de contagio a humanos y se han registrado, sobre todo, en personas que han estado en contacto con cerdos. No hay riesgo por comer carne de cerdo, informa el CDC. Los síntomas de la gripe porcina son muy similares a los de la gripe común y se tratan con antivirales, pero el nuevo virus,informa el CDC, no reacciona a dos de los cuatro de estos medicamentos normalmente utilizados en EE UU.

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Experts Puzzled by Strange Space Blob

By Jeremy Hsu

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(April 22) -- A newly found primordial blob may represent the most massive object ever discovered in the early universe, researchers announced Wednesday.
The gas cloud, spotted from 12.9 billion light-years away, could signal the earliest stages of galaxy formation back when the universe was just 800 million years old.
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M. Ouchi, Carnegie Institution for Science / AFP
49 photos
This is a composite, false-color image of the biggest known object in the early universe -- a gas blob with a mass equal to that of 40 billion suns. The object is 12.9 billion light-years away (the bar at lower right represents 10,000 light-years). The blob could be a relic of the earliest stages of galaxy formation. Scientists named it Himiko, after an ancient Japanese queen.
"I have never heard about any [similar] objects that could be resolved at this distance," said Masami Ouchi, a researcher at the Carnegie Institution in Pasadena, Calif. "It's kind of record-breaking."
A light-year is the distance light travels in a year, about 6 trillion miles. An object 12.9 billion light-years away is seen as it existed 12.9 billion years ago, and the light is just now arriving.
The cloud predates similar blobs, known as Lyman-Alpha blobs, which existed when the universe was 2 billion to 3 billion years old. Researchers named their new find Himiko, after an ancient Japanese queen with an equally murky past.

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