April 24th, 2009
08:14 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Deadly Flu Outbreak

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/HEALTH/04/24/swine.flu/art.pigs.gi.jpg caption="Swine flu is usually diagnosed only in pigs or people in regular contact with them."]

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

Across the border, Mexico has shutdown its schools, museums and other buildings due to a deadly outbreak of swine flu. At least 68 people have died there, mainly in Mexico City. Nearly 1,000 others have fallen ill. U.S. health officials are also concerned. There have been eight cases of swine flu so far in the U.S., but no deaths.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is tracking the outbreak.

"This is something we're worried about and treating very seriously and I think it's important that people are paying attention to what's going on," said Dr. Richard Besser, Acting Director at the CDC.

This is nothing like any other flu. The CDC says they're dealing with a never-before-seen mixture of viruses from swine, birds and humans.

Here are some facts on swine flu from the CDC:

– Pigs can catch human viruses back to humans and they can be passed from humans to humans
– Symptoms of swine flu are similar to those of seasonal influenza: fever, coughing, muscle aches & extreme fatigue, but there can also be more extreme vomiting and diarrhea
– There are four antiviral drugs licensed for use in the U.S. to treat swine flu
– There is no vaccine to protect humans from swine flu, although the CDC is working on one
– You cannot catch swine flu from eating pork or pork products.
– Vaccine against human flu is not expected to work against swine flu

Are you worried about swine flu? Share your thoughts below.

Tonight we'll also have the latest on the Pentagon's decision to release hundreds of photos showing alleged abuse of prisoners in Iraq and Afghanistan.

And don't miss a 360° exclusive, U2 band leader Bono interviews actor George Clooney. It's a great Q&A session that's part of our Time / AC360° special next Friday night – The World's Most Influential People.

We'll have all that and much more starting at 10pm ET.
See you then!

Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
soundoff (35 Responses)
  1. bingo mama

    back in the 70s i had the swine flu as well as my mother , we did not move for four days till my brother had to break in the house ans call a doctor for us ,,,, we stayed in the hospital for almost a week, in anaheim ca,, there were no coughing and sneezeing it was pure vomit and dia and no way to even get off the floor no way at all ..we layed there for four days i was 12 and i wanted to just die it was the most painful feeling in my life,,,,so im hopeing i have had it so i dont think i can get it again??? but let me tell you you start to feel weird you know your body so if you start to feel weird dont wait put on a mask and get help a s a p linda

    April 28, 2009 at 12:27 am |
  2. Dawn

    I think it is high time for the mexican border to be closed. This is the job of homeland security. I would like to know where can I obtain a free mask for my face? And are there any vaccines givng for this and and any supplies such as facial mask and gloves from Health Centers?

    April 27, 2009 at 10:44 pm |
  3. mary

    Sherry, I had that swine flu of the winter of 1970. I was extremely ill for two weeks, right down in bed. I don't remember if I had a shot. This present swine flu is not the same. This is a different strain containing swine, bird, and human flu.

    April 27, 2009 at 5:15 pm |
  4. Brad

    Why has the government not closed the border with Mexico yet??? This is the question that more people should be asking. How many illegals are crossing the border with the virus and spreading within the US. If this turns out to be as bad as they might say, Obama is to blame for not acting quickly enough. The CDC has a seed virus to make the vaccine however, why are we not making the virus yet? Why are we not sending out shippments of tamiflu to processing centers Wake up America and demand that borders are closed and every precaution is taken to protect our nation instead of being politically correct.

    April 26, 2009 at 10:15 am |
  5. Terry, TX

    We just have to use common sense...and not panic...CDC did right...advised the washing of hands...cover your mouth when you cough...avoid public places when ill.

    April 25, 2009 at 6:15 pm |
  6. vmontez

    belle56.......youre 16 you should be having fun. im glad though that youre paying attention because its your generation and my kids generation thats going to hopefully not suffer but solve these problems. last quarter i did a research paper on climate change and the 12 infectious diseases that are on the rise. its scary but we need everyone to pay attention.

    April 25, 2009 at 4:27 pm |
  7. Titone

    We won't be able to bailout ourselves out from this one!

    April 25, 2009 at 5:47 am |
  8. Rena Clodfelter-Stanphill

    What makes this strain so deadly is because it is a mix of swine, Avian, and human flu. All we can do is pray that the CDC can come up with a combatible vaccine that contains swine, avian flu dna componets, and hope it wipes it out. God never gives us more than we can handle. does he have That much faith in us humans? May God have mercy...
    Rena from Idaho.

    April 25, 2009 at 4:37 am |
  9. Char

    Hopefully the fact that no one has died in the US may mean that the virus has weakened somewhat. Either that or quick medical intervention prevented any deaths from occurring. Viruses like this mutate a lot, it remains to be seen if it just fizzles out since we are entering a time phase where flu typically isn't rampant, or re-emerges even stronger in the fall/winter season. Fortunately, vaccines for this particular type of influenza can be manufactured quickly and would most likely be available in large quantites by fall. The main thing I would watch for right now is what WHO (World Health Organization) and CDC does in the following days. If WHO raises the Pandemic Threat Level above the current Level 3, then I will most likely make sure I stock up on supplies for at least for a week in case shops and businesses close for a short time. Having cash on hand and doing small things like filling up the car with gas is a good idea also. If it does spread, anyone who falls ill with anything even similar to a severe cold might want to see their doctor immediately. Seems Tamiflu is not resistant to this strain and is being used to effectively to treat those currently ill. For the next few days I guess we're going to have to play the waiting game and see what unfolds, keeping my fingers crossed that this doesn't turn into a pandemic.

    April 25, 2009 at 2:29 am |
  10. Sherry Dillman

    Does anybody remember the swine flu outbreak in the 1970's? At the time, they gave massive shots to the masses and most of the people that got the swine flu shot, got the swine flu. I am wondering if having had that, I would have some resistance built up for this strain.

    April 25, 2009 at 2:16 am |
  11. Amanda

    this concerns me a little because i was just in mexico a week ago today and i woke up monday ill, went to the doctor and they suspect it's a lung infection so hopefully thats all it is

    April 25, 2009 at 2:15 am |
  12. Lucia

    Hello I am a medical student in Guadalajara, Mexico with famiy in the States and the news of the outbreak of the swine flu known here as "un brote de influenza porcina" has me a bit worried. The Secretary of Health of Mexico has estimated at least 1000 people infect and up to 68 dead. Thus far schools and business have not closed here and I'm not quite sure if any cases have been reported in this area,but as soon as i get more information I will try to keep you guys informed. The best thing ot prepare for this is to read about the clinical symtoms on the CDC website. This virus is new to us as it is to you, so no there is not a vaccine for this yet. If it is contained there is nothing to worry about. Lets just hope for the best and if you happen to show clinical signs go to your clinic immediately. The longer you wait the more people you infect and the clincial consequences are more severe

    April 25, 2009 at 1:42 am |
  13. owlhowl

    Hate to say it, we're in big trouble.

    April 25, 2009 at 1:17 am |
  14. Lisa

    It is all really scary but I think the most important thing to do is just take any precautionary procedures as individuals and with our families. Right now that is the best thing anyone can do. Let's all just pray and put our trust in the Lord.

    April 25, 2009 at 12:09 am |
  15. Dana Suki

    If medical experts already know (as shown in the news report) the various component strains that make up this flu, then why aren't they working 24/7 on a vaccine?

    April 24, 2009 at 11:48 pm |
  16. Kim

    I am an American and have been living in Mexico City for 10 years. I admit that I don't love watching or reading local news for a number of reasons. But niether my Mexican husband, nor my Mexican or American friends who live here knew anything about this flu situation until this morning. I am amazed that the general population in Mexico City is not widely informed of this outbreak, until the day it is bad enough that the local authorities decide to shut down all schools and all public places and events over which they have control.

    My husband's response is to continue his weekend plans; business as usual. Some Mexican friends who were going to attend a large modern art exhibit with us this weekend decided to cancel and get out of town – they left the city to spend the weekend at a family home in a nearby town. Obviously people are individuals and reactions are mixed.

    Unfortunately I took the subway during peak crowded hours yesterday evening completely unaware. I am a rational sensible person, hardly susceptible to overreaction – if I were I would not still be here after 10 years and 3 robberies the latest of which involved an armed home invasion in the middle of the day. But it is incredible to me that the general local population is not made aware of the risks before things reach a "fever" pitch. Some reports I have read today indicate that the deaths seem to be leveling off at this point (apparently some weekes into this outbreak began). If local residents had been earlier and better informed, perhaps many more illnesses and deaths could have been prevented, and the pandemic threat averted.

    April 24, 2009 at 11:45 pm |
  17. abe dr a .D. KREMS

    Mexico City has a problem. NY may have one too.....different possibly
    facts will develop. our cdc is hot at work(atlanta) SD health dept knows of 8 cases, recovered and is very attentive. wise to isolate...not mix with lots of pdople just now, until more facts are in. problems:shopping at busy times, religious attendance this weekend. by Monday, patterns, nature of, course, recoverability of whatever it is will be understood, somewhat. linkage tore terrible past pandemics is not yet logical, probably not. all of our cases need not be same as Mexico's or even related in this country. being careful NOW is warranted. ;panic is rediculous. newspapers will likely carry more details than other media. health matters STAY HEALTHY

    April 24, 2009 at 11:32 pm |
  18. PatriciaPHX

    I teach in an inner city school, population 90% Hispanic. Visits to Mexico are a regular reason for absenses. Last week I was diagnosed with Bacterial Bronchitis. ( Have not had the Flu in over 5 years) After returning to work this week, we had an average of 50 children a day going through the nurse's office and at least that many went home sick with FLU SYMPTOMS!
    Right now it's our southern border states. Today the Health Services Department in my city is still saying there are no reported cases. Nothing unusual about not reported the news the public really needs to know.

    April 24, 2009 at 11:30 pm |
  19. diana

    sorry for that! – the vaccine that was developed for influenza is not blocking this swine flu! It's not an ideal situation for me ! I live in Cabo! turists are mostly Americans but obviosly some people from Mexico city vacation in Cabo!
    My main concern is not to be able to take a flight a bought already from Cabo to Toronto stopping in Mexico city! Will it be ok in June to stop in Mexico City?! Or will they shut off airports also ?!!! I have never seen or heard anything like it. So I don't know the possibilities that could come ahead without notice. What is the worse case scenario?!

    April 24, 2009 at 11:19 pm |
  20. rj

    not all pandemics are deadly, these deaths are dreadful, but the numbers arent as bad as past events

    April 24, 2009 at 11:15 pm |
  21. Marie Anne Sam - Alabang in the Philippines

    Containment is one preventive measure but we need a cure for the swine flu!

    Wondering why we have a lot of 'viral strains' these days-–jumping from one animal source to the other! Seems everything these days are interconnected - that makes the virus transfer more 'mobile'!

    April 24, 2009 at 11:11 pm |
  22. Jane

    The majority of deaths in the pandemic of '17 and '18 were between the ages of 18 and 40. This is a lethal virus made up of four viruses, how long before it mutates to jump the four vaccines that are available to Americans?

    April 24, 2009 at 11:07 pm |
  23. andrea t

    In am hoping that we are able to keep this flu contained, but realistically we are too global and have failed to prepare our healthcare facilities for such an outbreak especially in the smaller rural communities.

    April 24, 2009 at 10:32 pm |
  24. belle56

    im a 16 year old kid who didnt care about nothing when it comes to news until i saw this by mistake tonight next question on my mind is whats next

    April 24, 2009 at 10:30 pm |

    I became deathly ill sunday night – after eating the same food as the rest of my family. I thoought it was food poisining at first – however, after 48 hours of vomiting and diaherhea, we called my doctor – he prescribed zortab to stop the vomiting and lomotil for the other – now I believe I might have had swine flu since I still, after 5 days have no energy and still feel ill, but better than 2 days ago. – muscle aches and lethargy – hope this info helps someone else who has no idea what is going on with their body and are unable to take even a sip of water..

    April 24, 2009 at 10:22 pm |
  26. Lyn Dominguez

    This outbreak seems to be fast acting and could get out of hand before we know it. CDC itself said they cannot contain it.
    I am interested in what those students in New York have, flu, food poisoning, who knows.
    With the air travel this could explode quickly, and with not enough medical professionals or clinics to serve all we are in big trouble.

    April 24, 2009 at 10:22 pm |
  27. Pauline, CA

    Yes, it is refreshing to see real time news who provides useful and much needed information.

    Anderson, the reason I watch you is because of how real and honest you are... Gotta love Anderson Cooper!!!

    April 24, 2009 at 10:21 pm |
  28. diane babcodk

    I remember, very well, in the early or mid 1970's that there was a swine flu scare. I was living in Queens NY and the health dept. gave free swine flu vaccines, I was one of them that got it. Why have I not heard anything about that. Please ask one of your experts. I am really curious. Thank you. diane b

    April 24, 2009 at 10:20 pm |
  29. Jane

    Scary that this flu is targeting the same group; young and strong that the pandemic of 1917 and 1918 did.

    April 24, 2009 at 10:19 pm |
  30. Synithia

    I am very worried i am a diabetic i cant afford something like this i hope they get a handle on this quick.

    April 24, 2009 at 10:18 pm |
  31. Jolene, St. Joseph, MI

    When so many humans are getting Swine Flu without being exposed to pigs, it's worrisome. Especially when there is no vaccine available to prevent a human from getting it. I just hope the people stay calm and that we don't resort to killing pigs as a form of prevention.

    April 24, 2009 at 10:05 pm |
  32. David, Indiana

    Thanks for covering this. Some people can't get flu shots so it's good to know that there are antiviral drugs but are those drugs like flu shots, sometimes for various reasons people can't have them?

    April 24, 2009 at 10:01 pm |
  33. Annie Kate

    This sounds pretty ominous and yes, I am worried about it. Scientists have said for years now that we are overdue for another great flu epidemic like we had in 1917 and 1918 which killed a tremendous number of people. I hope this flu isn't of the same caliber but I will rest easier when the scientists get a handle on it and have some medicine for it.

    April 24, 2009 at 9:37 pm |
  34. Rebekah

    I think it's great that AC360 is such a big hit that it's collaborating with Time. now that is saying something =]

    I can't wait for news on the photos that are to be released!

    when i first saw the story about swine flu outbreak i almost didn't believe it, but when i read the article – and i realized it wasn't a joke – i was amazed. how many animal diseases are going to start affecting humans? it's hard to tell where this will stop! first mad cow disease, then bird flu and now SWINE flu?! this is just ridiculous!
    how can we prevent this kind of thing happening with animals like cats and dogs and horses?

    April 24, 2009 at 9:05 pm |
  35. Isabel

    Good evening, Maureen Miller!
    Happy friday ... despite the news of a outbreak of avian

    What most lack in our lives?
    Now is this ... swine flu!

    Any and all information is important!
    It is absurd that outbreak, with people dying, in the XXI century.

    I read it's late to contain an outbreak of swine influenza in the U.S.

    Is there a vaccine for this virus, in particular?
    Doesn't the current influenza vaccine cover this virus? How to prevent?

    In Mexico aren't advisable until the handshake, but when someone from family is contaminated, it's difficult to avoid contact.

    Take care and I'll speak to you soon!

    April 24, 2009 at 8:36 pm |