European Union: “Don’t Travel to the U.S., or Mexico”

Monday, April 27, 2009


In an unprecedented move, the European Union’s health commissioner on Monday urged Europeans to postpone nonessential travel to the United States or Mexico due to swine flu outbreak.

EU Health Commissioner Andorra Vassiliou, met with the EU foreign ministers on the subject as Spain reported the first confirmed case of swine flu in Europe. That was also the first swine flu case outside North America.

She told reporters, “they should avoid traveling to Mexico or the United States of America unless it is very urgent for them.”

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12 Responses to European Union: “Don’t Travel to the U.S., or Mexico”

  1. Estacada says:

    This action will have huge economic implications for the U.S. during recessionary times.

    No wonder the media is especially placating this morning. They’re speaking in calm tones and they’re reassuring the public that all is well.

    I’m worried about this as I think everyone is worried.

  2. Harry says:

    The media is doing a terrible job conveying the information we need. They’re like clowns at the circus.

  3. libhomo says:

    It’s a bit late for Europe to take this step.

    It also is starting to look like this swine flu is mostly deadly to people with other health problems. That was the case in the outbreak in Thailand earlier this decade. This could nasty for people with HIV and in developing countries.

  4. Walk on Socks says:

    I’m not a doctor but I understand the math:

    U.S. population: 304 million
    Doses of stockpiled Tamiflu: 50 million

    Why are we short 254 million doses of Tamiflu?

  5. R.J. says:

    Too late. Spain got their first confirmed case of swine flu today.

  6. bradfrmphnx says:

    libhomo is right. It is way too late for Europe to make this move. Whatever it is, it has spread globally already.

    And I don’t think this will turn pandemic. From all signs I see it is combatible with treatment. At least that is my hope. As the media will be dishing this out for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for awhile, I’m sure I’ll get sick of something soon.

  7. VicoDANIEL says:

    The U.S. is going to fuck this up.

    All of these nations in Asia, from China, to Japan, to South Korea, to the Philippines, use thermal cameras to monitor the body temperature of airline passengers arriving from foreign countries. If the passenger is sick upon arrival, they’re quarantined and offered treatment with Tamiflu.

    Of course, here in the U.S., airline passengers deplane from Mexico City — the epicenter of the swine flu outbreak and airport officials hand them a discount pass to Disneyland. Not sound public health policy.

  8. taco says:

    Of course, here in the U.S., airline passengers deplane from Mexico City — the epicenter of the swine flu outbreak and airport officials hand them a discount pass to Disneyland.

    You know the drill, Daniel.

    After Israel, the next country we don’t want to piss off is Mexico. Even if it kills us and this time, it may.

  9. Barb Lamont says:

    In 1918:

    In large U.S cities, more than 10,000 deaths per week were attributed to the virus. It is estimated that as many as 50% of the population was infected, and ~1% died. To compare, in “normal” (interpandemic) years, it is estimated that between 10-20% of the population is infected, with a .008% mortality.

    The fact the current ‘swine flu’ has shown to be contagious is alarming. So far the virus has shown to have a 6% to 6.3% mortality rate. It may not seem like much, but please consider the following: The deadly influenza panic in 1918 had a mortality rate of under 1%.

    This virus went on to kill tens of thousands of healthy people a day in large cities and up to 100 million people world wide.

    Viruses, like this strain of swine flu, kill their host by over-stimulating active immune systems that are robust and healthy. That is why the victims in Mexico were between the ages of 20 and 45.

    Some have said that no one in the United States have died from the virus, so we need not worry. Experts say it is only a matter of time. The virus is not prevalent enough to reach statistical significance in the United States, with only a handful of confirmed cases. 93.7% of all Mexicans with the virus recovered.

    More cause for worry: The 1918 virus started off ‘mild’ before it mutated into a raging storm. It also does not mean we will see millions of deaths. It is too early to draw sweeping conclusions. Nevertheless, there is potential for a disastrous pandemic. If 50% of Americans catch this flu in the next two years, and the mortality rate stays at 6.3%, we would witness 20+ million deaths.

    This strain of virus is more potent and more deadly than the virus that hammered the world in 1918 and 1919. Viruses come in waves. There are striking similarities to this virus and the virus that killed up to 100 million people in 1918. The first wave is historically more mild than the later waves.

    In addition to this virus becoming more severe, it is mutating faster than previous virus that we have seen. In addition, this virus is nothing like we have ever seen before because it combines features from viruses natural in different parts of the globe. We are in uncharted territory.

    If it follows the same path as the 1918 flu, we will see very damaging results. However, we must remember we are a global society now and the virus can spread quicker than we have ever witnessed in history. This is very concerning especially since the drugs we have now seem resistant.

    While there have been no deaths in America, it is shadowed by the fact the common variable among the deaths seem to be age. While most American cases have involved the very young and very old (under 10 and over 50) the Mexican cases that ended fatally involved the robust and healthy (over 20 and under 45).

    This virus kills the host by over-stimulating the immune system. The term that is used when the immune system over reacts is called a Cytokine Storm. It is usually fatal. During this “Storm” over 150 inflammatory mediators are released. This would account for the high mortality rate in 1918-19.

  10. Peace Nick says:

    Barb Lamont – This is a frightening statistic. Numbers don’t lie.

    I’m glad this epidemic is happening on Obama’s watch and not Bush’s watch.

    Obama and his team seem engaged, informed and ready to take the steps and allocate the resources we need to push back against this flu bug.

  11. bradfrmphnx says:

    I’m not hitting the panic button yet. But my finger is just above it. From what I can gist Tamiflu and other antivirals are capable of fighting this virus so far. At least in the U.S. The panic button gets hit if it mutates into something we can’t treat. And being that it can spread from human to human, that makes it easier for it to mutate. I’m just hoping for the best for all of our sakes right now.

  12. Living in New York City and being compelled to ride the subway…let’s just say I avoid being near anyone who is coughing. And I wash my hands as soon as I get to work. Thing is, simple things like hand washing go a long way. And a friend who is a nurse-practitioner told me that you should wash for about as long as it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” or the ABCs song.

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