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Swine Flu Epidemic Update

  • September 6, 0020

AmeriCares is working hard to respond to the 2009 H1N1 Influenza Virus, commonly known as Swine Flu. It has sickened more than 5,000 people and has been linked to over 150 deaths. Recent reports show that nearly a third of the world’s population could be affected by the outbreak by the fall of 2009.

Mexico, where the earliest cases of the disease were reported, has been hard hit. AmeriCares current aid to Mexico includes three shipments of medicines and supplies and we are preparing additional shipments to meet the health care needs of our partners. The aid includes:

  • medicines to treat flu symptoms and related infections,
  • face masks, hand sanitizers and gloves for infection control, 
  • inhalants to help people with breathing problems,
  • nutritional support for people who have become weakened due to infection, and
  • IV fluids to help people who are dehydrated from flu-related diarrhea and vomiting.

“AmeriCares is watching the H1N1 epidemic very carefully,” said Dr. Frank Bia, AmeriCares Medical Director and an expert in infectious diseases. “As Swine Flu infects more people, it can adapt and become more dangerous – like a hurricane picking up strength over warm water.” 

Here at home in the United States, relief supplies are being sent to clinics that provide basic health care services to the uninsured and underinsured. As more Americans lose access to health care in these difficult economic times, these clinics fill an increasingly vital role in protecting individuals from public health crises.

AmeriCares sent medical aid and infection control supplies to health clinics in Texas, Mississippi and California, as well as its own clinics in Connecticut. All the clinics are receiving emergency aid including face masks, medicines and other vital supplies similar to what has been sent to Mexico.

Dr. Frank Bia_thumb

Read Dr. Bia’s Q&A: What You Need to Know About the Swine Flu.

In addition, AmeriCares is currently working with clinics in Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, New York, North Carolina and Wisconsin with medical assistance to help them prepare for any future flu outbreaks. Outreach will continue with our network of over 150 clinics in more than 35 states nationwide.

“The current swine flu outbreak is the same strain, H1N1, as seen during the flu pandemic of 1918 when more than twenty million people died,” said Dr. Bia. “Even though we have advanced medicines today, the risk is still great – particularly in the developing world where health care is out of reach for so many.”

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