First Swine Flu Death In America

Prayers and condolences to the family of the young child who has died of swine flu in Texas.  The Washington Post has the details.  However, there are a few things that are interesting about this story.  Some questions have answers, some don’t.

The child had traveled by plane from Mexico City to a Mexican town near the US border on April 4.  He crossed the border into Brownsville to visit relatives and developed symptoms on April 8th.  He was admitted to Brownsville Hospital and later transferred to a Houston hospital when he did not improve.  OK, here come the heartless questions and observations.

1.  Did the child enter the country legally?

2.  Did you notice that American hospitals treat people from other countries?  We have the best and most generous healthcare system in the world.  There is no mention of any sort of health insurance.

3.  The story says his relatives are healthy and have not shown any symptoms.  How long is the incubation period on this disease and should we quarantine them knowing they have been exposed?

According to an article in the Baltimore Sun:

“Meanwhile, the commandant of the Marine Corps said a Marine in southern California might have the illness and 39 Marines were being confined until tests come back. General James Conway told a Pentagon briefing an initial test indicated the sick Marine — who was not identified — might have swine flu but his illness did not appear life-threatening.”

As usual, the military’s response to this situation is much more logical than that of the people currently in power in Washington.  As other countries are restricting or putting up travel warnings regarding Mexico, we are leaving open a very porous border.  The Mexican border needs to be closed until we learn more about the disease, how long the incubation period is, and how long people with it are contagious.