Four years ago, we were told the Avian flu pandemic was imminent. My wife was so worried about the avian flu virus making its way to North America that she stored non-perishable food items and litres of water in the basement preparing for lock down. She imagined a moment when the whole family would retreat to the basement quarantined while this mutating virus ravaged the rest of the city.
My wife hasn't read this pleasant Toronto Star article yet. It's about the new flu strain, a mixture of swine, human and avian flu viruses, that has killed up to 68 people in Mexico. The World Health Organization is using the P word.
Hospitals tested patients with flu symptoms for the never-before-seen virus, which has also infected eight people in the United States. No further deaths had come to light since Friday afternoon, but officials warned the person-to-person infections meant there was a risk of a major outbreak.
“It has pandemic potential because it is infecting people,” WHO Director-General Margaret Chan said in Geneva.
In related news, this new strain of swine influenza is likely already in Ontario.
The new strain of swine influenza is likely already in Ontario, said Dr. Michael Gardam, one of Ontario's top infectious disease specialists, because about 60,000 people return to the province from Mexico every month.
"We have to assume that it is circulating in Ontario," he said. "You just have to look at air travel patterns to realize that what goes on in Mexico has to come to Canada.
Just don't tell my wife. If she finds out about this, I'll be tweeting from the basement.