HEALTH

Swine flu inaccurate moniker; CDC identifies 3 strains in H1N1 virus

BY Michael Johnsen

ATLANTA Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization renamed what had become known as the “swine flu” to H1N1 in part because sequencing results of the virus was found to contain genetic reassortment of three viruses which have been circulating in pigs in Europe, Asia and America since 1998.

The new information suggests that the progenitor virus strain was a virus circulating in swine and has evolved in humans through gradual mutations over a 10-12 year span, and has avian and human components.

The new information also provides other insight into influenza virus strains, such as the fact that influenza viruses, whether in humans or among animals, are constantly evolving genetically, along with changes in their ability to cause morbidity and mortality in humans or animals. These changes may be gradual or very rapid.

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Swine flu case count climbs to 141 across 19 states

BY Michael Johnsen

ATLANTA According to the figures released Friday morning by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of domestic swine flu cases now total 141 across 19 states, up from 109 cases across 11 states reported Thursday.

The state tally now includes Arizona (4), California (13), Colorado (2), Deleware (4), Illinois (3), Indiana (3), Kansas (2), Kentucky (1), Massachusetts (2), Michigan (2), Minnesota (1), Nebraska (1), Nevada (1), New Jersey (5), New York (50), Ohio (1), South Carolina (16), Texas (28) and Virginia (2). The only death reported so far has come out of Texas.

As of early this morning, the World Health Organization reported 331 confirmed swine flu cases internationally, though those numbers do not yet reflect CDC’s latest update. Mexico has reported 156 confirmed human cases of infection, including nine deaths.

The following countries have reported laboratory confirmed cases with no deaths — Austria (1), Canada (34), Germany (3), Israel (2), Netherlands (1), New Zealand (3), Spain (13), Switzerland (1) and the United Kingdom (8).

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Sabre: Travelers may not be alarmed by swine flu outbreak

BY Michael Johnsen

SOUTHLAKE, Texas Business and leisure travelers are continuing to travel despite growing attention surrounding the H1N1 virus (swine flu), indicating that travelers are not reacting with as much alarm as media reports may indicate, Sabre Holdings stated Friday.

Travel volumes recorded at Sabre Holdings show that aside from the decline in travel to Mexico, business and leisure travel within the United States and to other parts of the world is currently holding steady, reflecting the same pragmatic perspective among travelers that President Barack Obama offered in his news conference on Wednesday.

Travel agencies show similar findings with their clients.

“The vast majority of our clients remain on the road,” stated Jane Batio, president of CorpTrav, a Chicago-based travel management company with more than $180 million in annual air bookings. “We’ve only cancelled six trips across our entire client base in the past week, and future bookings remain in sync with rebounding trends we’ve seen across the past two months.”

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