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Today's Question: How serious is the swine flu scare?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT; updated 9:59 a.m. CDT, Wednesday, April 29, 2009

*UPDATE: When this story was first reported, there were no deaths due to the swine flu in the U.S. There has been one confirmed death in the U.S. thus far.

On Monday, MU Chancellor Brady Deaton sent an e-mail to MU students, reassuring them that MU health officials and emergency planners are monitoring the current swine influenza threat.

"Contact with Columbia, Boone County and state public health officials and Centers for Disease Control and World Health Organization resources is ongoing," Deaton said.

According to the e-mail statement, Susan Even, director of MU’s Student Health Center, said no influenza-like illnesses had been reported within the student body or community in the last three weeks.

The outbreak originated in Mexico and has caused an estimated 2,000 infections and a suspected 149 deaths. *Sixty-four cases have been confirmed in the United States, including two non-fatal cases in Kansas and one fatal case in Texas. On Monday, the World Health Organization raised its pandemic alert level and the Obama administration said it was responding as if the outbreak would spread into a full pandemic.

Gov. Jay Nixon said state health officials have been on high alert since Friday. Despite there being no reported cases in the state, Missouri has stockpiled enough anti-viral medicines to treat more than 600,000 cases of the virus and is due to receive more, in addition to 3 million surgical masks to protect against the spread of the virus and 3 million specialized masks for medical workers.

How worried are you about the swine flu? Do you think state officials are doing enough to prepare for a potential outbreak in Missouri?


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