Thursday, 30 April 2009

Mexicans die while other suffer a contagion of fear

From Ekklesia.... some sense!

Health promoters, community and church workers in Mexico are asking why people in their country are dying from swine flu, while wealthy countries panic and the virus spreads around the world. The answer, they say, is that the poor are always the first victims.

So far, only Mexico has seen deaths as a result of the new strand of flu virus which has spread from livestock into the human population.

Some 145 deaths from cross-viral infections were estimated in the country over the past two weeks. 26 fatalities were then confirmed through initial tests. A further 2,000 have been predicted.

This morning the headline estimate went up to 159. However, a new, more rigorous epidemiological test has been introduced. So far it has linked 9 deaths to swine flu with surety.

Uneven health care, inadequate or out-of-date vaccines and slow responses from over-stretched services have been implicated in the deaths.

According to the World Bank, half of Mexico’s population was living in poverty in 2002 and the statistics have not improved greatly over the past seven years.

Current estimates are that approximately 55 million people live in poverty in Mexico, with some 22 million of those people living in extreme poverty.

The potential for the epidemic to cause devastation in poor regions is a dimension of the swine flu outbreak which needs much more attention, say health promoters.

Thee is also real concern about the wider impact of swine flu on Mexico's economy, which is heavily dependent on tourism. There has been a sudden decrease in visitors and this is hitting workers who rely on tourism-related income.

Experts say that a travel ban would not have any real impact on the the spread of the virus at this stage, and would be bad in other respects - medics and supplies coming into the country, for example.

*What ARE we worried about?????*


Erp said...

There has been one confirmed death in the US, a baby in Texas who had recently been in Mexico.

No country is really ready for a full fledged pandemic (which this is not yet), and, several seem to be taking measures that make no sense (e.g., killing all pigs, the disease is now human to human and no longer involves swine). We have several advantages over 1918 (1) countries are less likely to conceal information, (2) fewer large concentrations in close quarters of young men [lot of military camps in 1918], (3) countries less likely to have mass groups of people meeting despite medical advice [something that happened in 1918 when the government wanted to sell war bonds] (4) anti-viral medicine, (5) ability to develop and produce effective vaccines [though this takes time]. The 1918 flu was particularly deadly though it was most deadly in the second wave; we don't know how deadly this one is or will become (assuming it becomes a pandemic). Other known flu pandemics have been less deadly than 1918.

Fr Kenny said...

The Scottish Government have told us that we have enough vaccine to cover the worst possible scenario. Methinks there is a little over-reaction. However, if I lived in poverty in the Third World, I would perhaps be very afraid!