Swine Flu Outbreak: Mexico Sees Jump In H1N1 Cases With 68 Deaths This Season, Health Ministry Says

Swine flu masks3/3/2016 IB Times

Mexico’s health ministry said Wednesday that the country has seen a spike in cases of the H1N1 virus, commonly known as swine flu. The Mexican government has detected 945 cases of H1N1 and 68 deaths this season, as opposed to only four cases and no deaths last season.

Swine flu comprised only one-third of all flu infections this season, but has proven deadly as nearly 70 percent of the deaths have been attributed to H1N1, Reuters reported. Mexico’s flu season usually begins in October and continues until March.

Authorities reportedly said that despite a striking rise in the number of cases, schools should not be closed.

Mexico says 11 pregnant women infected with Zika

3/1/16 Reuters

Mexico has confirmed 11 pregnant women are infected with the Zika virus, out of a total of 121 cases, the government said on Monday.

Most of the cases were identified in the southern Mexican states of Chiapas and Oaxaca, according to a health ministry report.

Eight of the pregnant women are from Chiapas, two are from Oaxaca, and one is from the Gulf coast state of Veracruz, the health ministry reported.

The number of cases of infected pregnant women has risen since mid-February, when the health ministry said there were 80 confirmed cases of Zika, including six cases of pregnant women with the virus.

Much remains unknown about Zika, including whether the virus actually causes microcephaly, a condition marked by unusually small heads that can result in developmental problems.

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Mexico issues alert after radioactive material stolen

3/1/16 CNN

HAZMAT_Class_7_Radioactive(CNN)The Mexican government has issued an alert for a large swath of central Mexico after the theft of an industrial device containing radioactive material.

The device, used for industrial radiography, was being transported in a pickup that was stolen early Saturday in the state of Queretaro, Mexico’s National Commission of Nuclear Security and Safety said.

The agency did not say whether the radioactive material was the target of the theft, or if the truck thieves made off with more than they bargained for.

The radioactive material inside the device is Iridium-192, the nuclear commission said. The material can be deadly if removed from its protective shielding.

The nuclear commission was alerted to the stolen radioactive material Sunday and issued an alert to authorities in six Mexican states and the Federal Highway Police to be on the lookout for the stolen Chevrolet Silverado truck.

Number of Zika cases rises to 93 in Mexico

2/23/16 Fox Latino

Zika virusThe number of registered cases of the Zika virus in Mexico has risen to 93, with 13 new cases diagnosed since last week, the Health Secretariat said.

Nine new cases were reported in the southeastern state of Chiapas, two in the southern state of Oaxaca, one in the southern state of Guerrero and one in the western state of Michoacan, Deputy Health Secretary Pablo Kuri said.

The focus should be on preventing the disease’s spread as the warm months approach by attacking the breeding grounds of the mosquitoes that carry the illness, Kuri said.

The Zika virus, which is mainly transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, causes fever, joint pain and rashes.

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Mexico says six pregnant women infected with Zika

2/16/16 Reuters 

Zika virusMexico has confirmed six pregnant women are infected with the Zika virus, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 80, the government said.

They are believed to be the first confirmed cases of Zika in pregnant women in Mexico.

More than half of the total cases of Zika and four of the infected women were detected in the poor southern state of Chiapas, a report from the health ministry said late on Monday.

Pope Francis visited Chiapas on Monday, drawing crowds of thousands.

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Is Mexico’s soda tax working?

114450483_87ef30b539_m2/8/2016 Christian Science Monitor

Mexico has the highest rate of overweight or obese adults in the world, and an estimated 10 million Mexicans have diabetes, doctors say. The country also happens to have the highest per capita consumption of soda, amounting to 70 percent of the total added sugars consumed by the average Mexican, according to a report in The New York Times. Recent research reveals that the Soda Tax passed into law in 2014, may reduce the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages in the country.

Mexico’s “soda tax” was passed in 2014 as part of a larger effort to lower the rate of obesity and the occurrence of diabetes in the country. Under the legislation, sugar-sweetened beverages (except milk and yogurt) are subject to a tax of 1 peso per liter.

Researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Mexican National Institute of Public Health looked at purchasing patterns in more than 6,000 households in 53 large cities, publishing their findings earlier this month in the journalBMJ. Researchers identified a 6 percent decrease in the sale of sugary beverages in 2014, which gradually climbed to 12 percent by December 2014. Lower socio-economic groups showed the highest decrease in consumption, at 17 percent, but purchases went down among all socio-economic groups. There was also a 4 percent increase in bottled water sales.

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Pope’s Mexico trip threatens to hasten Zika’s spread

Pope_Francis_Korea_Haemi_Castle_19_(cropped)2/8/2016 Stat News

Papal visits are a magnet for the Roman Catholic faithful. But public health officials are hoping that when Pope Francis visits Mexico later this week a specific segment of American Catholics who might normally flock south of the border will stay home: pregnant women.

Mexico is one of the many countries in Latin America and the Caribbean where the Zika virus is currently spreading. The virus is strongly suspected of being responsible for an increase in cases of microcephaly — an abnormally small head — among infants born to some women infected during pregnancy.

The messaging from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been very clear: Pregnant women should do everything they can to avoid being infected with the virus. That means not traveling to affected countries if at all possible.

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