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May 1st, 2009
04:29 PM ET

Earliest swine flu cases from California?

David Luhnow, Jose De Cordoba and Gautam Naik
The Wall Street Journal

The voice on the conference call last week was Frank Plummer, a Canadian scientist who had just spent 24 hours analyzing virus samples from 51 seriously ill people in Mexico.

The news: Seventeen people carried a completely new type of flu virus, one which had its origin in pigs. Flu from swine, which can be fatal, has rarely made the jump to humans - much less appeared in so many people at once. Within minutes, Mexico's health minister grabbed a red-telephone hotline to President Felipe Calderón. "Mr. President, I need to see you urgently. It's a matter of national security."

A picture is now emerging of how U.S. and Mexican officials, with a key assist from a Canadian government lab, first realized they faced a new type of disease and began racing to isolate its earliest origins. Until recently, Mexico was widely assumed to be ground zero. Now, however, some California doctors are questioning that.

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Filed under: 360° Radar
soundoff (One Response)
  1. kathy

    In the late '70s, early '80s the swine flu vaccine was administered and some people contracted Gullian Barre Syndrom as a result of receiving the vaccine. What are the chances of this happening again?

    May 1, 2009 at 5:41 pm |