Sunday, July 26, 2009

Swine flu: Mexico gears itself as cases rise in Chiapas

Updated on Sunday, July 26, 2009, 09:38 IST

Mexico City: Much of Mexico has relaxed after swine flu first unleashed a wave of panic here and across the world three months ago, but cases are now soaring in the country's impoverished southeast.

Authorities insist that A(H1N1) is under control, despite a peak in Chiapas, an area with poor indigenous communities, popular tourist sites, and heavy traffic of Central American immigrants heading to the United States.

Scientists have now identified the first known case as a female baby who tested positive on February 24 and survived. The girl from San Luis Potosi state in north Mexico had no known contact with pig farms.

Mexico is well placed to handle a rise in cases expected to coincide with colder temperatures from November, officials say.

"What could have been a disadvantage by being the first is now a strategic advantage, because now we know what to do (and) how to do it," government advisor and doctor Pablo Kuri said.

The government is currently carrying out targeted health campaigns in the worst-affected areas.

Eight of the last 10 deaths bringing Mexico's total to 138 were in Chiapas, which has the country's highest caseload out of some 14,800 reported nationwide.

Bureau Report

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