Mexico says most flu victims got sick before alert

May 9th, 2009 - 4:13 am ICT by IANS  

Mexico City, May 9 (EFE) Almost 90 percent of the 45 swine flu fatalities recorded till date in Mexico began to feel the symptoms before authorities knew of the existence of the new AH1N1 virus, the country’s health secretary said Friday.
Jose Angel Cordova told a press conference that most of those cases were diagnosed and treated for pneumonia before the April 23 declaration of a health emergency.

At the same meeting with the press, the representative of the Pan American Health Organisation in Mexico, Oscar Mujica, said that without the preventive measures taken by the government, such as suspending classes and other activities for several days, the epidemic could have caused 8,605 deaths and 30,000 people hospitalized.

Mujica said that “while the epidemic appears to be stabilised,” it is “imperative” to continue with control measures.

According to the latest official figures, the number of confirmed contagions rose from 1,204 Thursday to 1,364 Friday.

According to Cordova, many who died were patients suffering from obesity, morbid obesity and diabetes, while children as a group responded best to treatment.

Women account for 58 percent of the fatalities, and people between 20 and 54 are the hardest hit group, with 84 percent of the deaths.

The minister said that higher temperatures impeded the propagation of the virus, while “the colder and drier it gets” the easier it is for it to spread.

For that reason he was able to send a calming message to tourists wanting to visit Mexico’s coastal resorts, such as in the Pacific states of Guerrero and Baja California, where hardly any cases of contagion have been found.

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