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Sorting Through Swine Flu

Audio

Aired 4/30/09

As of Wednesday, eight countries confirmed cases of swine flu and the World Health Organization raised the alert to "pandemic is imminent" level. Health officials continue to try to get a handle on the outbreak. We'll get a report of the latest news on the virus, and what people can do to keep themselves from contracting it.

Maureen Cavanaugh: The discovery of a new and lethal flu strain has understandably alarmed health officials in the U.S. and around the world. But among the lessons we are learning from this swine flu outbreak is how difficult it is to survey populations for a specific flu virus and come up with concrete numbers and confirmed information.

Countries around the globe have acted with differing levels of panic to the news of the swine flu outbreak. Egypt is in the process of slaughtering its entire population of pigs, while other countries have refused importing pork, even after assurances the virus cannot be spread through food.

Here at home, we've heard conflicting reports on the number of people sick, how those people got the flu, who is at greatest risk and how much of a threat this new virus really is.

Guests

Dr. Wilma Wooten, San Diego County Public Health Officer.

Dr. Francesca Torriani, from the Infectious Diseases Division of UCSD School of Medicine.

Vicente Calderon, editor of tijuanapress.com.

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