Lawmaker wants border closed over swine flu
By Molly K. Hooper
Posted: 04/25/09 11:28 PM [ET]
The "swine flu" that has infected more than 1,000 people in Mexico has led a lawmaker on the House Homeland Security Committee to call on U.S. officials to close the southern border.
Rep. Eric Massa (D-N.Y.) said the border should be closed until the threat is resolved.
"The public needs to be aware of the serious threat of swine flu, and we need to close our borders to Mexico immediately and completely until this is resolved," Massa said in a statement.
"I am making this announcement because I see this as a serious threat to the health of the American public and I do not believe this issue is receiving the attention it needs to have in the news," Massa said.
Swine Influenza or swine flu is a respiratory diesase of pigs caused by type A influenza that regularly cause outbreaks of influenza among pics, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The virus normally does not infect humans, but it can occur, and cases of the disease then speading human-to-human have been documented.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared a "public health emergency of international concern" because of the outbreak in Mexico, according to ABC news. Cases have been reported in three U.S. states, but the only deaths from the outbreak have been in Mexico, where 81 people have died.
The White House has posted information about the outbreak on its web site, and officials from the CDC have joined an international health team in investigating the Mexican outbreak.
"CDC is working very closely with state and local officials in California, Texas, as well as with health officials in Mexico, Canada and the World Health Organization," the CDC said on its web site. It has deployed epidemiologists to two California counties and to Texas.
Confirmed cases have been found in those two states as well as Kansas. There are also reported cases in New York City, but they have not been confirmed on the CDC's website.
The White House offered assurances that President Obama, who visited Mexico a week ago, is fine. "The president's trip to Mexico has not put his health in any danger," said White House spokesman Robert Gibbs.