Friday, April 24, 2009

CDC Swine Flu Briefing

Our AI Coordinator Maryann Delea was able to attend the CDC briefing in person today. She wrote up these notes below:

Friday, April 24, 2009 CDC media briefing: Human cases of swine influenza infection

Dr. Besser, Acting Director of the CDC, held a media briefing regarding human cases of swine influenza infection among persons in California, Texas, and Mexico. The following is a list of relevant points presented during the briefing:

  • Concern has grown since yesterday, in light of new information from Mexico:
    • One additional case was reported and laboratory confirmed in a child from San Diego, bringing the total number of confirmed US cases to 8
      • 6 CA residents, 2 TX residents
      • Nine-54 years of age
      • All recovered from infection, one hospitalized
      • One San Diego case had a history of travel to Mexico
    • CDC tested 14 untypable influenza A specimens from Mexico; 7 tested positive for swine influenza and all were similar to the US specimens – per analyzed genetic component (the entire viral genomes were not sequenced), and 7 were negative for swine influenza
      • Illness presentations among Mexican cases are reportedly more severe
        • CDC does not have case information on the 7 positive specimens, so they were unable to comment on the validity of these reports
      • There have been reported deaths, but CDC did not have information on case fatality rate and would not comment on the number of attributable deaths
    • At this point in time, this particular strain is believed to have undergone several cycles of person-to-person transmission, as evidenced by the broad geographic distribution of cases in the absence of any identified linkages
      • This hypothesis may change as new epidemiologic information becomes available
  • There has been no change in the WHO global pandemic alert level (which remains at level 3), but WHO is obtaining more information about the situation in Mexico and convening an expert panel to determine whether evidence necessitates an increase in alert level
    • WHO is not at the point of declaring a pandemic, but they are looking to learn more about the virus
      • WHO will assess virulence and spectrum of disease when considering changes in the pandemic alert phase
  • CDC has sent an EpiAid to southern CA, is working on sending a team to TX, and will possibly send a team to Mexico
    • The teams will focus on conducting contact investigations and assisting laboratories
  • There have been no travel advisories or restrictions implemented at this time, but as per standard operating procedures, CDC posted an outbreak notification for southern and central Mexico
  • CDC defers to Mexican authorities and WHO for case counts as well as information regarding sources of exposure and virulence
  • CDC recommends that people begin to think about what they would do in the event of a pandemic à visit pandemic preparedness website for information

Updated: you can see the unedited transcript at

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