Country don’t mean dumb

“Where the hell it got all these genes from we don’t know, but this is a real super-mixed-up virus….”

“The scary thing is that this virus seems enormously transmissible.”

Robert Webster, a flu virologist at St Jude Children’s Research Hospital (source)

—-

Today’s reader’s email at BBC continues to paint an increasingly bleak picture for our southern neighbors.

The number of cases increases significantly every day. The number of fatalities is also increasing. At least three doctors are said to have died from swine flu. There is great fear among the medical community. We know that the situation is very serious and that we are at high risk of infection.

But we are more scared of carrying it into our homes and infecting our loved ones. One of my colleagues that was exposed chose to stay in a hotel rather than run the risk of infecting her daughters.

These fears are getting worse as we realise that it is not possible to get antiviral drugs from pharmacies and that in the health sector they are close to being delivered in droppers.

Despite this, the government says that it can rely on antiviral drugs to treat a million cases. We do not have easy access to these, even though we are part of the health sector.

In one hospital doctors were given the anti-viral rimantadine, even though there is resistance to this drug. Also, fewer samples are being taken from severe cases, as there is a lack of means of transporting and cultivating the samples.
Dr Guadalupe from BBC

This could easily get much, much worse.

M-O-O-N, that spells swine flu

More from BBC

I’m a specialist doctor in respiratory diseases and intensive care at the Mexican National Institute of Health. There is a severe emergency over the swine flu here. More and more patients are being admitted to the intensive care unit. Despite the heroic efforts of all staff (doctors, nurses, specialists, etc) patients continue to inevitably die. The truth is that anti-viral treatments and vaccines are not expected to have any effect, even at high doses. It is a great fear among the staff. The infection risk is very high among the doctors and health staff.

There is a sense of chaos in the other hospitals and we do not know what to do. Staff are starting to leave and many are opting to retire or apply for holidays. The truth is that mortality is even higher than what is being reported by the authorities, at least in the hospital where I work it. It is killing three to four patients daily, and it has been going on for more than three weeks. It is a shame and there is great fear here. Increasingly younger patients aged 20 to 30 years are dying before our helpless eyes and there is great sadness among health professionals here.”

Antonio Chavez, Mexico City

Baby can you dig your man?

An interesting comment from “Have your say” at BBC News

I work as a resident doctor in one of the biggest hospitals in Mexico City and sadly, the situation is far from “under control”. As a doctor, I realise that the media does not report the truth. Authorities distributed vaccines among all the medical personnel with no results, because two of my partners who worked in this hospital (interns) were killed by this new virus in less than six days even though they were vaccinated as all of us were. The official number of deaths is 20, nevertheless, the true number of victims are more than 200. I understand that we must avoid to panic, but telling the truth it might be better now to prevent and avoid more deaths.

Yeny Gregorio Dávila, Mexico City

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