AP-Swine Flu-Mexico-Ground Zero?
Mexican residents say swine flu may have started at local farms
LA GLORIA, Mexico (AP) – Residents of a rural Mexican town
believe their community may be ground zero for the swine flu
epidemic, though authorities deny it.
The town in the Veracruz mountains is home to Mexico’s earliest
confirmed case of the deadly new strain. A 4-year-old boy is among
more than 450 residents who’ve reported respiratory problems and
unusually strong flu symptoms as far back as February.
The residents blame contamination by pig waste spread into the
air and water from nearby breeding farms. Local health workers
intervened in early April, sealing off the town and spraying to
kill flies people said were swarming around their homes.
Residents say about half the town’s residents work in Mexico
City and could easily have easily spread the virus.
Some of the area’s farms are co-owned by Virginia-based
Smithfield Foods. A Smithfield spokeswoman says the company has
found no clinical signs or symptoms of the flu in its swine herd or
its employees in Mexico.
Edgar Hernandez, 4, right, who according to Veracruz state
Governor Miguel Herrera survived the swine flu, stands in his home
in La Gloria village in Mexico’s Veracruz state, Monday, April 27,
2009. A fatal strain of swine flu has been detected in Mexico while
the virus has been confirmed or suspected in at least a half-dozen
Margarita Hernandez, who claims to have recovered from swine
flu, protests against health workers while waiting for state
Governor Miguel Herrera to arrive at the home of a boy who also
survived swine flu in La Gloria village in Mexico’s Veracruz state,
Monday, April 27, 2009. A fatal strain of swine flu has been
detected in Mexico while the virus has been confirmed or suspected
in at least a half-dozen other countries.
(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)