Suspected swine flu deaths in Mexico top 100

Apr 27, 2009 By DAVID KOOP , Associated Press Writer
Nuns wear face masks during a closed door mass at the Metropolitan Cathedral in Mexico City, Sunday, April 26, 2009. Churches stood empty Sunday in predominantly Roman Catholic Mexico City after services were canceled, and health workers screened airports and bus stations for people sickened by a new strain of swine flu that experts fear could become a global epidemic.(AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills)

(AP) -- The Mexican government is trying to stem the spread of a deadly strain of swine flu as a new work week begins by urging people to stay home Monday if they have any symptoms of the virus believed to have killed more than 100 people.

Officials have already closed schools in three states and canceled hundreds of public events. But as the number of suspected cases and deaths rose again on Sunday - and millions returning to work on Monday - they looked to other measures to control the outbreak.

Labor Secretary Javier Lozano Alarcon said employers should isolate anyone showing up for work with fever, cough, sore throat or other signs of the flu.

Fear of the disease caused most residents of Mexico's capital to hunker down at home on Sunday. The cardinal said Mass in a shuttered cathedral. Soccer teams played to empty stadiums. A television variety show filled studio-audience seats with cardboard cutouts bearing broad smiles on their faces.

For the first time in 300 years, the cathedral in City's main plaza pulled an icon of the Lord of Health from storage, and worshippers placed it on the principal altar.

The Rev. Cuauhtemoc Islas said it would remain there until the medical emergency is over, Mexico's government news agency Notimex reported.

But the bad news kept coming. Health Secretary Jose Angel Cordova late Sunday that the number of suspected cases in Mexico had climbed to 1,614, including 103 deaths.

Authorities were trying to confirm how many new cases were caused by the virus, which has been confirmed or suspected in at least a half-dozen other countries and has caused the U.S. to declare a .

But even as Mexican officials urged those with flu symptoms to seek medical help, some complained of being turned away.

In Toluca, a city west of the capital, one family said health authorities refused to treat a relative on Sunday who had full-blown and could barely stand. The man, 31-year-old truck driver Elias Camacho, was even ordered out of a government ambulance, his father-in-law told The Associated Press.

Paramedics complained that Camacho - who had a fever, was coughing and had body aches - was contagious, Jorge Martinez Cruz said.

Family members took him by taxi to a public hospital, but a doctor there denied Camacho was sick and told the trio to leave, Martinez said.

"The government told us that if we have these symptoms, we should go to these places, but look how they treat us," Martinez said. Camacho was finally admitted to the hospital - and placed in an area marked "restricted" - after a doctor at a private clinic notified state health authorities, Martinez said.

Jose Isaac Cepeda, who has had fever, diarrhea and joint pains since Friday, said he was turned away from two hospitals - the first because he isn't registered in the public health system, and the second "because they say they're too busy."

The streets of the capital were largely deserted Sunday. The city canceled its weekly cycling day, in which major boulevards are closed to cars. The city's two main chains of movie theaters announced they were closing temporarily. Restaurants and bars were empty.

"We normally get 200 diners over the course of the day," said waiter Eduardo Garcia, wearing a surgical mask as he presided over empty tables of an Italianni's restaurant in the Zona Rosa neighborhood. "Today's pretty bad. Nobody's coming out of their houses."

--

Associated Press writer Olga R. Rodriguez in Toluca contributed to this report.
©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Explore further: 'Breath test' shows promise for diagnosing fungal pneumonia

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Mexico on edge as reports of swine flu cases climb

Apr 26, 2009

(AP) -- A new strain of swine flu has this metropolis of 20 million people increasingly fearful as suspected flu deaths grow, and world health officials warn that Mexico City could be at the epicenter of ...

Mexico City closes museums to stop flu outbreak

Apr 24, 2009

(AP) -- Mexico's federal government has closed museums, libraries, and state-run theaters as well as schools in its overcrowded capital to stop a swine flu outbreak authorities say may have killed as many ...

Fear, anger and fatalism over swine flu in Mexico

Apr 25, 2009

(AP) -- The schools and museums are closed. Sold-out games between Mexico's most popular soccer teams are being played in empty stadiums. Health workers are ordering sickly passengers off subways and buses. ...

Swine flu fears close schools in NY, Texas, Calif.

Apr 27, 2009

(AP) -- Esti Lamonaca's illness started with a high fever, a cough and achy bones, just a couple of days after she returned from a spring break trip on the beach in Cancun with friends. By the weekend, her ...

Mexico may isolate flu patients, inspect homes

Apr 25, 2009

(AP) -- As Mexico struggled against the odds Saturday to contain a strange new flu that has killed 68 and perhaps sickened more than 1,000, it was becoming clearer that the government hasn't moved quickly ...

Recommended for you

Lebanon reports first suspected case of Ebola

19 minutes ago

A Lebanese man who arrived from West Africa is suspected of having Ebola and was quarantined on Thursday in a Beirut hospital, the first such suspected case in the country, Lebanon's health minister said.

New, faster therapeutic hypothermia techniques

34 minutes ago

Rapid lowering of body temperature following an acute myocardial infarction (MI) can be an effective therapeutic strategy to minimize damage to the heart muscle caused by the loss and restoration of blood ...

Sri Lanka celebrates two years without malaria

4 hours ago

Sri Lanka has not reported a local case of malaria since October 2012, according to the Sri Lankan Anti-Malarial Campaign. If it can remain malaria-free for one more year, the country will be eligible to apply to the World ...

User comments : 0