Reports Of H1N1 Outbreaks In Venezeula, Mexico Prompt Quick Preventive Action By Health Authorities

Health officials in Venezuela announced on Friday the number of confirmed H1N1 (swine flu) cases in the country has grown to more than 200, the Associated Press/Seattle Times reports (3/25).

“Local news channel Globovision reported that 202 cases of the virulent strain of influenza had been confirmed and as of [Thursday] night, there were another 900 people with symptoms being evaluated, citing comments from [Health Minister Eugenia] Sader,” Dow Jones/Wall Street Journal reports. Officials first confirmed seven cases and one death from H1N1 in the western state of Merida on March 17, and nearly 50 cases have been reported in the capital Caracas, according to Sader, the news service reports.

Health officials have ramped up efforts to vaccinate the public against the virus, with a particular emphasis on “vaccinating those most vulnerable to the virus like the elderly, children under the age of one, as well as pregnant women and people with chronic diseases,” the news service notes (3/25).

In related news, Agence France-Presse reports on how health officials are responding to reports of several H1N1-related deaths in Mexico’s Chihuahua state, which shares a border with Texas.

Javier Gonzalez, Chihuahua’s deputy secretary of education, culture and sport, “said four people had died in the state since last week, when authorities discovered a fresh outbreak of the [H1N1] virus, and state health officials quickly launched a vaccination campaign and outreach programs to inform the population about prevention measures,” according to the news service. Students at schools will also be checked for H1N1 symptoms, Gonzalez added (3/27).