Canadian Officials Knew of Rare Strain Before Americans Did
U.S. public health officials did not know about a growing outbreak of swine flu in Mexico until nearly a week after that country started invoking protective measures, and didn’t learn that the deaths were caused by a rare strain of the influenza until after Canadian officials did.
Whether delayed communication among the countries has had a practical consequence is unknown. However, it seems that U.S. public health officials are still largely in the dark about what’s happening in Mexico two weeks after the outbreak was recognized.
Asked at a news conference yesterday whether the number of swine flu cases found daily in Mexico is increasing — a key determinant in understanding whether an epidemic is spreading — Anne Schuchat, an interim deputy director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said, « I do not know the answer to those questions. »
Mexican officials sent lung and throat swabs to the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg to be characterized. « The only reason the samples went first to Winnipeg is because the paperwork is easier. We were in a rush, » Hernández said.