Precautionary swine flu measures implemented around the world -12 July 2009  
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Precautionary swine flu measures implemented around the world.

As the pandemic continues to spread worldwide, the countries of Botswana and St. Vincent and the Grenadines have confirmed first-ever cases. The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) is reporting 113,940 official cases and 560 fatalities in 134 countries across the globe.

In Australia, 1,000 additional people were diagnosed with swine flu in the past week alone, and the number of people staying home from work is 20 percent higher than the same time last year, Health officials are predicting that absenteeism could increase to 60 percent.

In Victoria state, 90 percent of the total diagnosed flu cases have been found to be swine flu. Hospital emergency rooms are feeling the strain, as the number of patients arriving for treatment has increased from 25 per day in early May to 175 per day as of July 1.

South America has also been also hard hit as Chile announced 9,135 official cases, although experts project the actual number to be around 80,000. The Chilean government is allowing health officials to cancel any public event where the disease may spread.

Argentina and Peru have joined in extending winter vacations to a month, with Peru’s government sending students home for winter holidays two weeks early. And for the first time, medical teams are being sent from Algeria to accompany fellow citizens who might be at riskof contracting swine flu during their pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Despite these preventive actions, one of the greatest threats of the swine flu remains, which is that it may mutate to become even deadlier.

Dr. Michael Greger, Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture in the farm animal welfare division of the Humane Society of the US, and author of “Bird Flu: A Virus of Our Own Hatching,” explained that because viruses are RNA, not DNA, there can be slight differences each time they reproduce. Thus, these viruses are likely to make rapid changes and spread in more harmful forms in just a short amount of time, especially when bred in crowded, filthy animal factory farms.

Dr. Michael Greger, MD, Vegan: Every virus that emerges from the lungs of a pig or a chicken, or a human being that’s infected with a flu virus is a little different from one another. This virus is trying to find better ways to infect and to cause illness within people and other animals.

In a matter of weeks we’ve seen these low pathogenic viruses , which hardly cause the sniffles in chickens, becoming these highly pathogenic viruses with 100% morbidity, 100% mortality, meaning all the birds get sick, all the birds die. Where did that happen? It happened in these intensive confinement units.

The biggest outbreaks of high pathogenic bird flu before the emergence of H5N1 in China wasn’t in Asia, it was here in the United States in Pennsylvania, ‘83 and ‘84, 17 million birds died.

VOICE: We appreciate Dr. Greger and all those working to bring attention to how quickly the swine flu can mutate in factory farms, becoming even more virulent and deadly. May all governments and individuals act quickly to eliminate the harmful consequences of the meat industry through the life-affirming organic vegan lifestyle, to renew our world in flourishing health and vitality.