Worldwide pandemic fears as deadly virus spreads
Fears of a worldwide pandemic of the swine flu which has already killed at least 100 people in Mexico are growing as the virus spreads across the US and Europe.
There are concerns that travellers are carrying the dangerous virus A/H1N1 which originated in Mexico around the globe.
The World Heath Organisation (WHO) has sounded the alarm.
It was revealed yesterday that 103 people have been killed by the disease in Mexico, according to health minister Jose Angel Cordova. More than 1,614 people suffering from the virus are being treated in hospitals across the country.
Yesterday, the US announced a public health emergency which has resulted in extra precautions being taken.
Health authorities in Hong Kong said that scientists are trying to develop a rapid test to detect the virus. Results would be back within six hours, rather than the two to three days currently required.
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According to the WHO, the virus has the â€œpotential for a pandemicâ€ – in other words, an illness that may spread worldwide.
In Mexico city (population 20 million), 70 per cent of bars are closed and many people are walking around with gas masks.
All schools and universities are closed until May 6. Religious services and football games have been called off, and public activities are forbidden. Soldiers are on the look out for people with symptoms such as a fever and a sore throat.
The virus spread to the US incredibly quickly – there have already been 12 confirmed cases in Texas, Kansas, Ohio and California.
In Queens, New York 100 pupils are showing symptoms after a school trip to Mexico, and eight have been diagnosed with the virus.
Even US President Barack Obama (47) was tested after a state visit to Mexico â€“ the results were negative.
The flu has reached Europe. In Spain, three people who recently returned from Mexico are being tested while there are another four suspected cases in France.