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Spain confirms 1st swine flu case in Europe

Posted on Monday, April 27, 2009 7:16:04 AM

MADRID – Spain's Health Ministry confirmed the country's first case of swine flu on Monday and said another 20 people are suspected of having the disease. It was the first confirmed swine flu case in Europe and the first outside of North America.

Health Minister Trinidad Jimenez said the patient is a young man who had recently returned from Mexico where he had been as part of his university studies.

Jimenez told a press conference the man is responding well to treatment and that neither he nor any of the people under observation are in serious condition.

COMMENT by Arn:

Many of you will enter Spain through Madrid. Taking some precautions will greatly reduce the possibility of becoming infected.

Use a hand sanitizer after you touch any items that are exposed to the public…water fountains, drink dispensers, hand dryers, toilet facilities, etc.

If you’re arriving from Mexico, or are connecting with a flight that originated in Mexico or Central America, take the same precautions. More to come.

Buen healthy Camino
Arn
 
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fairfield

New Member
Arn - Have any travel advisories been issued yet (besides travel to Mexico)? I'm set to arrive in Madrid May 5 and I'm wondering if I should postpone my pilgrimage until we see how this situation is going to pan out. Any thoughts?
 

Bridget and Peter

Active Member
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Our UK advice in not about not travelling, but about staying at home if we get flu symptoms (good practise anyway) and sneezing into the crook of your elbow (or a tissue) instead of into into your hand!!! I thought that was surprisingly pragmatic advice from officialdom (about the sneezing), and felt cheered, somehow!

Apart from Mexico, it seems the flu is being mild. It has now spread to Europe. If you put off your camino who would that benefit?
 

jeff001

Active Member
To put this whole thing in perspective here is some information from the US Government Centers for Disease Control:
"Every year in the United States, on average:
•5% to 20% of the population gets the flu;
•more than 200,000 people are hospitalized from flu-related complications; and
•about 36,000 people die from flu-related causes.
Some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease), are at high risk for serious flu complications."

Since, at least in most places other than Mexico, this flu is no worse than the seasonal flu there is no need for undue concern.
 
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Sansthing

Active Member
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I´ve been wondering about this too since I will arrive in Madrid to start my Camino on May 12th. Since the virus seems to be be spreading all over I guess you are as much at risk at home as in Spain. My concern really is about the large, crowded dormitories, they may be the ideal place to spread viruses. Not that that is going to stop me, I intend to stick to my plans unless there is a drastic worsening of the situation.
Sandra :arrow:
 

fairfield

New Member
Yeah, I think I'm still going to go, and just monitor things on the internet. Haven't decided for sure yet, though. I have similar concerns about staying in the hostels - hopefully this forum will keep us all posted on the situation as it relates to us pilgrims.
 
I would not cancel any plans to do the Camino!

Jeff has some good statistics on past flu situations and should put things in perspective.

The key here is that the Madrid AP is specifically identified as the location of the active case. That said, taking a simple precaution such as washing your hands, or carrying a sanitizing lotion (3 oz) is a judicious thing to do in any location where many folks touch the same items.

Heck, there is a reported case in NZ. Who would have thought the flu even knew where New Zealand was!

Buen keep healthy Camino,
 
Spain confirmed a second case Tuesday in the eastern city of Valencia, after recording Monday the first case outside the Americas.

Once again, this time of year is critical for many countries as far as tourism goes. Mexico may as well get ready to contend with a lost year as far as that goes.

The EU will play down any indication that the swine flu is a major problem, but it can't hide reported cases. What is can do is report "flu like' symptoms...rather than specifically saying swine flu.

Still, with the exception of a significant number of deaths in Mexico, those folks that apparently contracted swine flu in Mexico and returned home have all responded positively to treatment. Says more about the health care in Mexico, or lack there of.

Arn
 

jeff001

Active Member
"A member of the World Health Organisation (WHO) has dismissed claims that more than 150 people have died from swine flu, saying it has officially recorded only seven deaths around the world.

Vivienne Allan, from WHO's patient safety program, said the body had confirmed that worldwide there had been just seven deaths - all in Mexico - and 79 confirmed cases of the disease."

http://www.smh.com.au/world/only-7-swin ... -aml1.html
 
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Deirdre

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I may be naive, but it seems to me that once again, 24 hour news reporting, the need to fill the airwaves with something and the ability to capture information (accurate or not!) from every corner of the globe will cause a panic even if there is no cause for one!

From the reports I've heard, most people have mild symptoms, as with every flu, the most risk lies with the very young and the elderly and since it, like all flu, is airborne, the way to prevent it is to wash hands, keep them away from face and eyes.

Because of the the fear, everyone with a sneeze is going to run off to the doctor with dire symptoms! It sounds like garden variety flu to me... with a fancy name attached. I spent 1/2 the day explaining to my students what "swine" were! Never miss a teaching moment! :wink:

I would think one is far more at risk of catching the flu in a restaurant, a store or an airport than on the Camino! Ah choo! "sniff"

Buen Camino,
 

KiwiNomad06

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Le Puy-Santiago(2008) Cluny-Conques+prt CF(2012)
Deirdre said:
From the reports I've heard, most people have mild symptoms, as with every flu, the most risk lies with the very young and the elderly and since it, like all flu, is airborne, the way to prevent it is to wash hands, keep them away from face and eyes.
I would think one is far more at risk of catching the flu in a restaurant, a store or an airport than on the Camino! Ah choo! "sniff"
I agree with you Deirdre that it has been very much dramatised by the media. However, one aspect of this flu is that it is not just hitting the young and elderly: it is in fact hitting the younger and fitter. Here in New Zealand it has been brought back by a group of high school age students who had been in Mexico. All seem to be recovering well, though two of the group were hospitalised briefly.

The fact that it is spread by droplet infection means I think that people on the Camino do need to be a little wary if it becomes more established: dormitories have beds notoriously close together.
Margaret
 

Telluridewalker

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (1988)
Deirdre said:
From the reports I've heard, most people have mild symptoms, as with every flu, the most risk lies with the very young and the elderly and since it, like all flu, is airborne, the way to prevent it is to wash hands, keep them away from face and eyes.

Um, this is not accurate. The fact of this flu strain is that 1) it attacks everyone, not just the elderly, young and the immune deficient (the typical victims of the more common strains) and 2) it is emerging, and growing, at the end of the traditional Northern Hemisphere flu season (when the more common strains are diminishing). The concern here is not the level the flu is at now, but the very real possibility of a pandemic, or world-wide event.

But hopefully people are not getting their swine flu info off this site (or from me, for that matter)- please pay attention to your local and trusted health information sources.

I really have no idea what to tell people who are preparing for the Camino as this threat (and I choose this word carefully) continues to grow. I work in the public safety sector and we are taking this flu virus very seriously. I hope we are preparing for the worst and only get a lessened effect, but I cannot say that for sure.
 
D

Deleted member 397

Guest
Before you worry about swine flu:
SARS killed 9.6% of those infected,774
Bird flu has caused 257 deaths in 6 years
According to WHO over 2 billion,ie, one third of the world are infected with TB of which about 2 million per year die
AIDS has infected 33 million worldwide.in 2007 2.1 milliom died
Mlararia causes about 250 million cases per year of which 1 million per year die
Diarrhoea,poor sanitation & malnutrition kills almost 2 million per year
25,000 children die every day from disease and hunger
'Ordinary' flu infects 3-5 milion per year of which 250,000-500,000 per year die
Compare these figures to 7 deaths so far from swine flu-people can be so gullible.
By the way I am a bit worried;I've got flu like symptoms and an overwhelming desire to roll in the mud-could it be swine flu?
 

Deirdre

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
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I didnt' mean to sound cavalier about it - certainly people should take reasonable precautions. But for heaven's sakes, there was an article online, "Should we stop shaking hands as a greeting?" for fear of the swine flu!!!!

In an attempt to find out more, I researched a little and found that it is a mutated combination of avian flu, swine flu and mostly human flu which is why it spreads so fast in humans. And I do realize that everyone is susceptible... the worst flu I ever had was when I was 20... and very healthy!

I still do think that the media blows things out of proportion. I thought it was already considered "pandemic" by the WHO because it has been confirmed on 5 continents - are there other criteria for consideration as 'pandemic"? And yes, John, you're right that it is only just emerging and at an odd time of year. But we have had 40 confirmed cases and one death (of a young child) in the US - out of 300,000,000 people - is that really cause for panic?

I'm not trying to be argumentative, and it is an interesting topic. People have a right and a duty to be informed. I just wonder about the hype. Heaven knows, "swine flu" has reached the general public consciousness faster than "Susan Boyle" did!

Buen Camino
 
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Timo

Member
omar504 said:
Before you worry about swine flu:
SARS killed 9.6% of those infected,774
Bird flu has caused 257 deaths in 6 years
According to WHO over 2 billion,ie, one third of the world are infected with TB of which about 2 million per year die
AIDS has infected 33 million worldwide.in 2007 2.1 milliom died
Mlararia causes about 250 million cases per year of which 1 million per year die
Diarrhoea,poor sanitation & malnutrition kills almost 2 million per year
25,000 children die every day from disease and hunger
'Ordinary' flu infects 3-5 milion per year of which 250,000-500,000 per year die
Compare these figures to 7 deaths so far from swine flu-people can be so gullible.
By the way I am a bit worried;I've got flu like symptoms and an overwhelming desire to roll in the mud-could it be swine flu?

Terve,
The numbers speak for thmselves, thank you, Omar.I think the mass media is highly responsible of this situation. How hysterical can we get! One suspected case in my hometown, 100 000 inhabitants and all the masks were sold out from the pharmacies. I can´t believe it!
-T-
 

jeff001

Active Member
Dierdre:

The WHO pandemic scale refers only to the rate of transmission and geographic spread of the disease, not to its' severity. I suspect that it is a misunderstanding of this that has caused much of the hysteria we are observing.
 

Bridget and Peter

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MikeB said:
And for an alternative point of view ......!

and here's another one from the good old grauniad

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/carto ... -community

One of my colleagues (of the conspiracy school of scepticism) pointed out that Swine Flu has arrived at a good time to divert us from the global financial crisis and suggested that was what they were planning at the G20 summit. I wondered how come Mexico drew the short straw - of course, he answered, being on the border of the US will cause the most diversion. And, he added, it was interesting that the one dead swan that floated our way infected with bird flu turned up on the day we sent troops into Afghanistan or something.

I'm more sceptical of conspiracy theories, myself, so I do not endorse the above analysis!! I post it here purely in a spirit of adding to the heady mix!!

Timo said:
I think the mass media is highly responsible of this situation.

Yesterday there was a case confirmed in a school in Devon. The news showed another young girl leaving school so frightened she was in tears (well, I doubt it was because they had sent everyone home!) I feel the reporting has been irresponsible - almost every paper here has had a headline calling it a 'deadly virus'. This is going to terrify the vulnerable and gullible. More sensible explanations of the meaning of pandemic level 5 (or have we moved up again?), the seriousness of the disease, the action to take if one gets flu symptoms and a higher profile of the statements such as we have had here in the UK - we are better prepared for this pandemic than ever before with 30 mill courses of anti-viral treatments stockpiled etc - then perhaps those of us in the better resourced parts of the world would be able to put our minds to how we are going to help our fellows in areas where flu, diarrhoea, TB and so forth are much more likely to be a death sentence.
 

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