Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Texas Has First Swine Flu Public Death

A 23 month old child died from Mexican Swine Flu, a strain of H1N1 flu virus similar to the Spanish pandemic of 1818. The toddler died in Houston, Texas. Reports say the child came from Mexico or Brownsville. It's not clear if the child had any medical care before expiring. I blogged this days ago:

Texas dropped primary care as an essential public health service ten years ago. Illegal immigrants, many from Mexico, have limited access to health care. Are ghost citizens at greater risk for disease and invisible to state authorities?
Did any of Governor Rick Perry's anti-viral medications end up in this family's hands? Was it too late? There might be an angry firestorm that "illegals" got free medical care in the U.S. In a pandemic, the flu virus doesn't check visas or health insurance cards. All it needs is a host. H1N1 has more of those each day.

Texas, the state next to the source of the Mexican Swine Flu outbreak, is a joke in public health. We've seen the first public death. How many more? (Update: The child sickened April 8. He did receive hospital care in Brownsville. He was transferred to a Houston hospital. He died April 27. News reported the death April 29.)

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