The CDC is working with the World Health Organization to keep track of any additional cases to determine whether and when a warning of a pandemic would be warranted. In preparation for such a scenario, the CDC has created a seed stock of a vaccine against the swine flu, which could be pushed into production should the number of cases jump significantly. The CDC did not specify what the threshold for vaccine production would be.
Obama Foodorama on what happens to the food supply in a pandemic:
Michael Osterholm, a University of Minnesota specialist in pandemic flu preparedness [will be] in the news a lot over the next few weeks/months, as he’s one of the top go-to guys for journos needing sound bytes on pandemics. He’s been an advisor for the Defense Department, the USDA, FDA, Homeland Security, etc., and he still does consulting work for these agencies.
Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, the FDA, the Centers for Disease Control, a large number of other US agencies including the Defense Department and USDA, and the World Health Organization are mobilizing to deal with the emerging deadly strain of flu that mixes gene material from birds, humans and pigs.[…]
Understatement: It’s very bad timing that Kathleen Sibelius has not been confirmed as Secretary of Health and Human Services, and that infectious disease specialist Dr. Margaret Hamburg, the nominee for FDA chief, is unconfirmed, too. Dr. Joshua Sharfstein is currently the acting interim director of FDA; he’s considered an expert on pharmaceuticals, however, which will become a huge issue if there is a pandemic outbreak.
Meanwhile the NYTimes has updated its story on the outbreak in Mexico:
Alarmed Mexican officials, scrambling to control a swine flu outbreak that has killed as many as 68 people and infected possibly 1,000 more in recent weeks, canceled more public events Saturday in and around the capital and said they were considering keeping schools for millions of students here closed into next week.
Officials also announced that two soccer matches scheduled for Sunday would be played without spectators, and hundreds of cultural events have been canceled.
Bloomberg is reporting that the World Health Organization is set to declare outbreak a global concern, “potentially prompting travel restrictions, said a person familiar with the matter.”