This is the VOA Special English Health Report. Swine flu is a respiratory sickness caused by
an influenza virus that mainly infects pigs. However, sometimes the virus can
sicken humans. That is what has happened in Mexico in the last few weeks.
virus is believed to have sickened at least two thousand people there. Mexican health officials suspect at least one
hundred fifty-two people have died from swine flu. Many of those who died were young adults who
were healthy before they became infected.
has suspended schools nationwide until at least May sixth. It has closed
restaurants and churches. The government
also cancelled large gatherings for sports, concerts and similar events. But
many Mexicans have criticized the country's health measures. There are reports
of seriously sick people being turned away from hospitals.
Mexican Health Minister Jose Angel Cordova Villalobos
says the government does not have enough health care workers for all the
victims. But he says there is enough
medicine to treat those who have swine flu.
The disease has spread to at
least seven countries and is suspected in others. The United States has more than forty-eight
confirmed cases in five states. The United States declared a public health emergency to permit the use
of federal money and the use of flu medicines in federal storage. American
officials so far have released about twelve million treatments of Tamiflu and
sent them to the states. They say
additional supplies are available if needed. President Obama has said officials are being watchful, not fearful.
United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is advising people to
avoid travel to Mexico. But it has not
suggested a ban.
flu can cause fever, head and muscle pain, cough, sore throat and stomach
problems. If you have any of those
signs, do not go to work or school. The
only place you should go is to the doctor.
There are simple ways to help prevent spreading
the virus. Cover your mouth when you
cough or sneeze. Wash your hands with
soap and water completely and often. Avoid
contact with people who appear to be sick.
Also, get enough good food and
rest. Your body's natural defense system
needs to be at its strongest to protect you against disease.
the VOA Special English Health Report, written by Caty Weaver. I'm Doug Johnson.