Costa Rica escapes swine flu outbreak so far

April 24, 2009

Costa Rica´s health officials reported no cases of swine flu so far in this country in spite of a scare that three people were carrying the deadly virus here, according to Costa Rica media reports. The scare follows reports of outbreaks in the United States, Mexico and Canada.

Doctors found the three patients who visited hospitals Friday here – one from Mexico and a married couple from Alajuela, northwest of San José –were not suffering from swine flu, the daily La Nación reported Sunday.

The newswire EFE reported Sunday afternoon as many as 22 people in Mexico (by press time) died this weekend from swine flu and 60 more deaths in 19 of Mexico´s 32 states were possibly caused by flu, according to the World Health Organization (WHO),.

The U.S. government declared a public health emergency after 20 mild cases of the virus – in California, Kansas, Ohio, Texas and New York – were detected. The cases led to no fatalities and only one brief hospitalization, according to the WHO. Canadian officials also reported six mild cases of infection, in the provinces of Nova Scotia and British Columbia.

The World Bank is loaning Mexico more than $200 million to help it deal with its outbreak, the Associated Press reported Sunday afternoon.

Swine flu is a respiratory disease caused by type A influenza that regularly causes outbreaks among pigs but does not normally infect humans. Reports of these recent outbreaks in humans have cited effects including flu-like symptoms such as fever, dizziness and vomiting.

Costa Rican health officials told the daily La Nación that hospitals and clinics here are prepared with prevention equipment to stop the spread of the flu in the advent that an outbreak appears.

The WHO has not recommended travel or trade restrictions.

Health Minister María Luisa Avila said Costa Rica so far has not stopped flights from Mexico,the U.S. and Canada, locations where outbreaks have occured, La Nación reported Sunday.

The health minister did not return several phone calls from The Tico Times.

For more facts on swine flu, see the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site at http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu/general_info.htm.

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