Have we heard enough about H1N1 yet?

by Freda Rumford

It has been suggested that there is deep trouble with the current “swine flu” epidemic. Everyone worldwide has heard the rumors, the cancellations of flights to Mexico, the stories of wholesale shut down of schools, universities, shopping malls, restaurants, etc. etc. etc., But is it true or is this panic-mongering? What is it actually like in Mexico today?

The type of influenza which caused panic as people in heavily populated areas became sick and in an occasional case, died, is over and the American Consulate has lifted its travel advisory. Schools have reopened, and yes, restaurants are serving. For all of Mexico it is business as usual, according to the  National Center for Preparedness, Detection, and Control of Infectious Diseases.

Naturally, intelligent people are not taking chances, are washing hands frequently and not hugging & kissing indiscriminately, but this "epidemic" was highly overblown. Having just recovered from a flu-like bug myself, I can attest to the fact that these viruses are here and making people sick, but not to the extent that is being reported in the press. 

New residents to Manzanillo Jackie Davis and Dave Ladd, formerly of New Mexico, have no concerns about swine flu. 

One good thing I suppose, is that with keeping everyone away, the potential spread of illness was lessened but was it really necessary? Countless small businesses are now reeling, as without the anticipated Cinco de Mayo season finale, they are having to close doors much earlier than usual. Hundreds of homes (already operating below the poverty line) are falling into deeper decline. Without the added income (approximately 20 billion a year) that has been coming south from the Mexican workers, Mexico, too, is in a recession, and many Mexicans working in the U.S. are having to head home because the U.S. recession has put them out of work.

What is generally not realized is that when the press say “Mexico is a very sick community” they are referring to Mexico City--a city of over 23 million people. Mexico as a country is a huge place, and what is happening in the city certainly does not affect millions of other people in other areas. Is this in fact part of a U.S. Government plot to create panic & confusion by creating a smoke screen with this supposed illness?

The only problem we now have in our particular part of Mexico, is that those people who can leave the affected cities of Mexico, are pouring into the coastal towns in an effort to escape potential illness and thus possibly bringing their bugs with them.

According to whom you speak, there have either been no cases of flu here in Manzanillo or nine--out of a general population of 138,000. Neither of which is overly threatening or alarming and no more than what is usually expected in the Spring Flu. So – no, we do not have an illness of pandemic proportions in our town, so come on down. Just leave the bugs behind in the airplane.

Freda Rumford is a member of Manzamigos, a Manzanillo organization to assist foreigners visiting or living in the area, and publishes the "Manzamigos Messenger." Join Manzamigos to get the latest information about the community.