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April 29th, 2009
10:23 AM ET

Your swine flu questions. Our answers.

We've been getting a ton of "tweets" on swine flu, including some really great questions. Here's a sample:

TGIFridie@KyraCNN Can you get the vaccine now from your doctor, or do you have to be showing symptoms of infection first?

curious1966@KyraCNN If 36000 ppl die each yr from the flu, why so much coverage of this strain? Bc there is no vaccine?

GuyAllen@KyraCNN I'd like to know, for the majority of people, will Swine Flu be any different than an ordinary flu in symptoms and recovery?

Denechek@KyraCNN What good is restricting travelers from Mexico that appear sick, when they are contagious 3 days before they exhibit any symptoms?

curious1966@KyraCNN been hearing alot about hand sanitizers w/ regards to the Swine Flu.Just how effective is hand sanitizer & how long lasting is it?

Well, CNN's Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta is on location in Mexico, and has been updating his blog page regularly. It's a fantastic resource with A's for these Q's - and many more.


Filed under: Kyra Phillips
soundoff (53 Responses)
  1. SpringWolf

    I believe the coverage over this strain of Swine Flu is being totally blown out of proportion. It's an issue and needs to be reported so citizens are informed and take precautions. But when 35,000+ people die each year from the flu, compared to the less than 200 from this strain, I believe the news media is creating a panic that is not needed.

    April 29, 2009 at 10:43 am |
  2. Dan Nelson Lafayette,IN

    My question is how can that epidemic be contained while it has been doubling in the United States and moving across other continents around the world? Will we be able to make a vaccine quick enough to combat it before it has become a pandemic? I believe that this is just another sign that we are nearing the second coming of our lord Jesus!

    April 29, 2009 at 11:07 am |
  3. Von

    Reports have said that you can't get the H1N1 virus from eating pork...then why does the CDC recommend not touching surfaces that may be contaminated with the virus? How do we know?... and what about imported products from Mexico? How do we know that the people that handled those products have not been exposed to the virus?

    April 29, 2009 at 11:34 am |
  4. Stan Whitley

    What needs to be looked into is the school children crossing the border from Mexico into south Texas every day to attend public schools.

    Mexican Naturals get a relative or friend to allow them to use their local address in the U.S. as their address at the schools which allows their children to attend schools in the U.S.

    This tactic is also used to gain access to all the low income benifits provided by the U.S. Social System for food stamps and medical benifits.

    If the U.S. government would hire trustworthy investigators that would not colaberate with the illegals to cover their illegal activities, the savings of social programs finances would more than pay for the expenses of the ivestigative costs.

    I will be interested in finding out if you really are an investigative news agency and take the time and risk the political back lash to look into this.

    Stan Whitley

    April 29, 2009 at 11:36 am |
  5. maria

    A pig, a bird and a human had a virus each to contribute. Did they sneeze it up together? It originated in a Mexican farm out of the blue?

    Sounds more like incubated in a test tube. Germinated in Mexico in time for spring break-college kids from across USA to bring it back to their schools. The seasonal human migration route in the US!!! Spring break travel may be a new achilles heel for bioterrorism tactics.

    Why not call it "Homo sapien" virus or "Avian" virus or aptly "Hominid-Sus-Avian" virus?

    April 29, 2009 at 12:08 pm |
  6. animalhealthadvisor

    Four family owned farms (Premium Standard, Continental Grain, Murphy and Tyson) produce or contract grows 80% of all the hogs eaten in America. US or State & local regulations may require a hog producer own a minimum 80 acres of land and two or three retaining ponds / lagoons (Feces, medicated withdrawal and drinking water). The hog producer farms decided to increase their ROI and to do that they sought cheaper labor and a location with limited regulations. Where do you believe they found those conditions? ...MEXICO?.... The USDA has no regulatory authority in Mexico and in addition to the swine flu pandemic look forward to the real bird flu!!! We are over vaccinating our pets and our food. For the past several years I have consulted veterinarians for manufacturers. In this economy I understand why the animal producers are possibly cutting corners on medications and processes. I have my own theories about why this problem occurs and how it can be stopped. I want Mexico and U.S to agree on production processes that help ensure a healthier food source and a safer world. I will raise awareness in the name of fairness.

    April 29, 2009 at 12:51 pm |
  7. Liz, NYC

    The MSM has got to STOP calling it Swine Flu and call it by its name the H1N1 Virus. Failure to act in this responsible manner will lead to continued problems for those family farms in the U.S. who depend on the pork industry and will lead to an economic problem in that industry. We can tsk-tsk misinformed people for thinking that "Swine Flu" comes from eating tainted pork when it DOES NOT but the Media, who can do the research and should know better, then stands to be blamed for continuing to give creedance to this line of thinking when all the medical reports show this is not the case. As usual, the media coverage becomes hours upon hours of "headlines" and "suppositions" that lead some of the viewers to panic. The media instead of serving as a source of GOOD info, becomes part of the panic problem.

    April 29, 2009 at 1:27 pm |
  8. Michelle

    The interview regarding pork food safety was over the top. I applaud the secretary for shutting you down. We're smarter than this, he knows it.

    April 29, 2009 at 1:41 pm |
  9. Lori

    The last few minutes of reporting on CNN.com was ridiculous. Either the anchor is not that smart in understanding the H1N1 Flu, also known as swine flu, is not a food born illness, it is the same as any other flu as far as mode of transmission OR she thinks the veiwers of her show are stupid !!! This is not mad cow that you can contract by eating contaminated meat. We are talking about a flu virus. I heard her say more than once " are you saying we are looking in the wrong direction by saying this virus has nothing to do with pigs". Give me a break lady, Don't you even listen to your own reporters ? Yes, pigs are involved, they originally are the animal that has had the virus., not that their meat is contaminated.
    Your viewers are not stupid, you further confuse the public by bringing up whether you can get this from eating pork. Get real and in touch with your viewers.

    April 29, 2009 at 1:41 pm |
  10. Sheena

    If this flu is spreading so swiftly, and has potential to be deadly, why in the world, dont the president close the borders, esp to and from Mexico.
    The little toddlers death in Texas are from a family that traveled from Mexico to Browsvill, TX. How many more people were infected because of that. If the President is working diligently on this most serious matter, he better close the borders now, to prevent further spread. And especially till the health department finds out more about this virus.
    It dont make sense to allow people in from where the virus started to spread to the US!!!!! Obama take heed!!!!

    April 29, 2009 at 1:43 pm |
  11. J Newman

    Re your interview with Vilsack.
    He sure took over and got his message out (about pork chops being safe). However, why didn't you ask him about the transmission of the virus from pigs to humans? That's the point about the origin of this. It could week be that this did occur from the US-owned factory in Mexico. I think a little more intellectual rigor in your thinking would go a long way.

    April 29, 2009 at 1:47 pm |
  12. Ckelly

    Thank you!!!!!!

    Finally a clear voice...swine flu IS NOT CAUSED by eating pork/pig products-swine flu a terrible name for a respiatory virus that happens to be found originally in the pig population-it mutated and has been around for a long time...Kyra-your segment was combative with the guest and very confusing to the average viewer....you can not get swine flu from eating pork just as you can not get avian flu from chicken...irresponsible journalism (again)!!! It is a respiatory virus that mutated as many of the flus we get originated in animal populations!!

    Don't hurt the farmers.

    April 29, 2009 at 1:49 pm |
  13. Ian

    Right after Dr Gupta's report about alleged problems at Smithfield Farms in Mexic, Secy Vilsack was interviewed. He insisted on the already much publicized point that the H1N1 flu is not a food-borne illness (we got it the first ten times Mr Secy!), but everybody glossed over the obvious question: "Did anybody else (except for Smithfield Farms (fox-chicken coop ?)) investigate the health status of their live animals and their employees at their farms in Mexic ?". The disease IS transmitted from the actual LIVE and DISEASED animals to humans, albeit not by meat consumption. Especially that the alleged patient zero was identified NEXT to their huge farms conglomerate!

    I guess there was no time for hard-questions in the interview ...

    April 29, 2009 at 1:56 pm |
  14. Dr. Jyoti Raychaudhuri MD

    Agriculture secretary Tom Vilsack was wrong about giving a clean chit to the hog farms. This is what the ignorant British minister did in case of British beef. He has no evidence that swine flu did not originate in hogfarm workers and spread from there – this is extremely likely. So it is absolutely essential to test hog farms and its workers and even quarantine them. What evidence has he got that the virus is not present in pig tissues besides pig lungs when a infected animal not showing external infection? Can the animal be a carrier? In fact animals who are carriers are responsible for outbreaks. An animal which dies stops the spread of disease.

    Economics is trumping science out here. The Obama administration ought know better.

    April 29, 2009 at 1:58 pm |
  15. Loren S.

    Please spend as much time on Vitamin D(another seasonal reason for fluctuations in the numbers) and stats from the last Big Flu Hubub that only netted 257 fatalities world wide. Settle Down and Think People!

    April 29, 2009 at 2:00 pm |
  16. giselle

    Hey Kyra
    I'm here cleaning the floors and listening to you with your swagga on.
    You go girl.

    April 29, 2009 at 2:02 pm |
  17. Dawn-Atlanta

    Your health reporter mentioned that people who work around pigs get Swine Flu frequently.
    My question is if this is true, why has it not been so wide spread before now?

    April 29, 2009 at 2:11 pm |
  18. Laure

    I agree with Maria, how can a virus with pig, swine and human DNA end up at a farm in Mexico? I am a college student who is in Microbiology and I just don't believe this came from a farm in Mexico. Tom V. , the person that was interviewed, sayed that This was passed from human to human and that it shouldn't be called the Swine flu but H1N1. Maybe this virus originated from a lab somewhere. Besides its not every year or decade , you find a virus with pig, bird, and human DNA mixed together unless in a labratory. This whole thing may be a new version of Plum Island.

    April 29, 2009 at 2:13 pm |
  19. Wendy T.

    The segment interview of Transportation Secretary once again goes to say how unprepared our airports are. He offered no clear solutions to the nation. We ought to take this swine flu outbreak as an opportunity to plan and manage a public health issue. Why is Asia screening passengers and U.S. airports are doing nothing? What does it take to mobilize the appropriate agencies to do something about it ? Asia did learn from SARS, but are we going to learn from this ?

    April 29, 2009 at 2:22 pm |
  20. cameron omega

    I'm not concerned about the swine flu. For those who have no medical coverage due to pre-existing conditions, there is no healh coverage, save through the over-loaded, over-whelmed, and insane asylum called the county health systems. Unless states, or fed, can force the medical insurance companies to accept, and not reject for any reason pre-existing medical conditions, no one is safe and covered. Everyone is compromised. Also, our medical providers use overseas countries to check on our coverage and claims. HIPAA is violated, and so is our privacy. I used to work for the industry, and they don't care about privacy.

    April 29, 2009 at 2:39 pm |
  21. Dawn-Atlanta

    Question on current discussion regarding Mexicans being blamed for so many things.
    How do we know this Swine Flu originated in Mexico and spread to the US and other countries?
    Is it possible that it could have originated in the US or some other country?

    April 29, 2009 at 2:45 pm |
  22. flaca

    We should be smart like the cubans and STOP people from coming in and out this country. Maybe that will stop it from spreading as much.I have a two year old daughter and I'm very concerned after seen a two year child die.Also my boyfriend works at a hotel so I feel we're more prone to it then most people.I feel drastic measures need to be taken to stop the spread of this virus. I feel our government is more concerned about losing money then lives.

    April 29, 2009 at 2:51 pm |
  23. Dawn-Atlanta

    I don't think people should be so critical of Kyra for having trouble determining how this flu is transported; dead or alive.
    Not everyone understands the difference; "no stupid questions"
    Her asking the health reporter; helped me to understand.

    This epedimic does bring to question; Should humans eat animals in the first place?
    Maybe we should all be vegetarians; although we can get sick from vegetables too if not handled properly.

    What's a human to do?

    April 29, 2009 at 3:15 pm |
  24. Bob

    Is it possible the swine flu has been in the United States mush longer then has been reported? Some in my family and others we know had all swine flu symptoms 6-8 weeks ago. We never went to the doctors thinking it was just the ordinary flu. I wonder if someone should look back on all the deaths reported where the flu might have been involved.

    April 29, 2009 at 3:50 pm |
  25. Ian

    Professor Rabadan’s group at Columbia University posted a notice that the current flu outbreak could be due to “a reassortment of existing swine flu viruses and and not a swine, avian, and human influenza combo” (from http://www.grist.org/article/current-flu-virus-may-be-100-swine-in-origin/). Anybody else confirms this ?

    Notice available at:
    http://tinyurl.com/d5toos (URL reduced for space purpose)

    April 29, 2009 at 3:51 pm |
  26. Kathy B. (LA)

    Cruises to Mexico are being cancelled. Does anyone know how widespread this flu is in the Bahamas and other island nations off the coast of Mexico? Are cruises being cancelled to the Carribean yet?

    April 29, 2009 at 3:55 pm |
  27. Janet Sherlock

    Kyra Phillips did an excellent job of interviewing Transportion Secretary, Ray Lahood. However, I was very disappointed with his response to her questions about his departments role in preventing the spread of the Swine Flu Virus. He doesn't even know if the US has hi-teck heat sensors, like those that are being used in some other Countries, to aid in the detections of sick travelers. As a matter of fact, in the interview, he didn't seem to know much of anything they were doing, leaving me to wonder, just what his role is in preventing the spread of this. He should have been ready to act on this days ago. This virus is speading so fast, primarily due to modern transportion. He needs to be doing more than going to meetings and talking about it before it's to late and it becomes a pandemic. It may be too late already.

    April 29, 2009 at 4:05 pm |
  28. Scott

    Close to 36,000 US citizens died from the regular flu last year and nothing was said about it. I believe they are making to big of a deal about this so called swine flu. Whatever happened to the BIrd flu that they made a big deal of a few years back. Seems they are just stirring up fear to replace one word-flu- with adding on more words such as the bird flu or now the swine flu, to make it sound worse then what it really is.

    April 29, 2009 at 4:17 pm |
  29. AleJandro Buchanan

    Swine Influenza (swine flu) is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A influenza viruses that causes regular outbreaks in pigs. People do not normally get swine flu, but human infections can and do happen. Swine flu viruses have been reported to spread from person-to-person, but in the past, this transmission was limited and not sustained beyond three people.

    With this said and to not create a world wide people panic, The News Media should start using the original name of influenza A (H1N1).

    April 29, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  30. Boots

    Given the comments on the varying severity of this flu from country to country, does the overall health level/well being (good nutrition, etc.) of a person have anything to do with how bad this flu can be?

    April 29, 2009 at 4:56 pm |
  31. kay drake

    Is it true that there is a case of h1n1 on the St. Johns campus in Queens?

    April 29, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  32. julie -kansas city

    My daughter is 8 months pregnant. What precautions does she need to take to protect herself from the Swine Flu? She's in the military and is exposed to all the elements.

    April 29, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  33. Val

    On the list of Swine Flu prevention, why aren't they including vitamin D3? My doctor says that's very effective against the flu virus. I would boost my D3 levels now and get Tamiflu if I developed symptoms. The studies say that the drop in D3 levels over winter is why the flu season takes hold then.

    April 29, 2009 at 5:30 pm |
  34. Ron Smith

    http://www.who.int/csr/don/2009_04_29/en/index.html

    Why are the news media reporting over 150 death from the Swine flu?
    WHO web sight report only 7 deaths world wide and they are in Mexico with one exception of a mexican girl in Texas.

    Please explain.

    April 29, 2009 at 5:44 pm |
  35. Bob Watts

    Correct me if I am wrong! A child gets the swine flu in mexico and his parents bring him to the U.S. for treatment and he dies. You now call this the first U.S. death. WRONG! If this kid is from Mexico, got the flu there then he did not contact it here and should not be called "the first U.S. death" STOP making such a BIG DEAL out of this. A whole lot more people die each year from the flu period. WOLF SOUNDS LIKE A FOOL.....

    April 29, 2009 at 6:02 pm |
  36. Janet Sherlock

    We have been told that 35,000 people die each year from the flu world wide, that is about 1 in every 1,000 people that get it. So why should we worry about this flu? Because the percentage rate of death per 1,000 is showing to be much greater. They haven't told us how much greater yet. If they did people may panic. This flu is something to be concerned about.

    April 29, 2009 at 6:51 pm |
  37. kasiah ,curt

    is it possable,DNA work done for the use of pig to human hart transplants may have bridged a gap for swin flu type of diseases to cross over ? and as much as i think we should be rearching thing like regrowing amputated or damaged boby parts for someone with most of their otherwise long heathy lives ahead of them ,i don't think we should be mixing our DNA with other creachers . not to be cold but especially when it puts the masses at risk for the benefit of the few . so often , thay don't realy know what it could do , we just have to fix it latter ! Is This latter ? Could we have opened PANDORAS BOX ? can we await the birth of our grandKIDs with a split foot or tail ? if so i think i'll call IT ( Billy ) after IT's Grand DNA donor .

    April 29, 2009 at 9:12 pm |
  38. Andree

    With the Swine flu virus at one step away from pandemic level, who gives a rats patootee how Obama's first 100 days are going. I can't wait to see how he handles the next 100 days when people are sick or dying and can't get the economy going even if they wanted to. Good Luck to us all. Ontario, Canada

    April 29, 2009 at 10:48 pm |
  39. Sylvia Steele

    I'm upset that the option to vote on the most important question of the night...Grade Obama...didn't even come up on my computer. I voted twice earlier, but now with 2 minutes to go the question doesn't even appear. So I want it known that I give Mr President a solid A+! He's the hardest working man in Washington.

    April 29, 2009 at 10:54 pm |
  40. Allen

    My question: how soon can we expect the swine flu pandemic to run its course in a particular country such as Mexico or the US? When would it be safe to travel to Mexico, for example?

    April 29, 2009 at 11:59 pm |
  41. Darla

    How serious is the threat of the H1N1 virus to the life of children under the age of 1? What are the specific risks to infants and toddlers? Can antiviral drugs be given to infants under the age of 1 and are they effective?

    April 30, 2009 at 4:55 am |
  42. Antonio Cordova

    Yesterday aboard our local metro bus here in Seatle, I sat there with my comprimised immune system and feeling over-whelmed, as expected, and observed a woman sneeze and reverently covering her face with her hand. She then proceeded to leave and touch many of the bus rails for her personal support. Our next stop happened to be near our Washington University and the bus vacated empty with many of it's students bare-handedly touching every area this woman had affected! I am now vigilant on what I place my own hands on and wash them repeatedly as we are being told to do so. I don't know about anyone else but it is up to each one of us to take that extra step in the effort combating the spread of this Swine Fly, HELLO! I went home and supplied myself with my hospital plastic gloves and plenty of tissue that I can discard safely. I carry an extra hanky. GET WITH THE PROGRAM AMERICA!

    April 30, 2009 at 10:00 am |
  43. Adam

    Swine Flu It's the end of days.........A scared american public consumes products. So of course the goverment is going to blow it up. They want you to go out and buy, buy, buy. And as far as people blaming the media they simply say what they are told to say. The goverment is only going to let you know what you need to know so that they can reach a soultion that they decide

    April 30, 2009 at 11:52 am |
  44. Gabriel

    If you ask me, This Swine Flu is biological terrorism, it was probably, released by some government,if not our own, and its a way to bring down the population of the world, its Genocide......But we will see!
    This will probably be worse than the 1918-1919- Spanish Flu outbreak, oh and by the way, The Swine Flu is a mutated form of the Spanish Flu, which killed thousands of people during the early 1900's

    April 30, 2009 at 12:04 pm |
  45. Val

    My relatives just go back from vacation near Cancun. No one there mentioned Swine Flu to them until they were back in the States. The press was there and their first thought was terrorists. They were completely surprised when their employers sent them home for a week. Janet Sherlock: The statistic is 35,000 deaths in the US which may be inflated by complications like pneumonia, underlying health problems like the toddler who died, etc. American society has the work ethic where people are expected to go to school or work unless they are dying. Parents who feel they can't miss work, will be dropping their kids off at daycare or school before and after symptoms emerge. This is how the virus will be spreading.

    April 30, 2009 at 12:23 pm |
  46. Billy G.

    It was just announced that a part of the presidential security team was diagnosed with H1N1. Could H1N1 in all actuality, be a form of chemical warefare? Ouch, that is a mind-boggling question. Presidential assisination attempt? A real life episode of “24” . Is something like this possible?

    April 30, 2009 at 2:52 pm |
  47. A. Sharpe

    More than 13,000 Americans have died from "normal" flu since January 1, 2009. Why do you keep hyping the propaganda that is flowing from the Communist PRC directed WHO? This is the mildest, most innocuous "pandemic" ever in in human history. Obviously, this is a run-up exercise to Martial Law in the US and designed to make the manufacturers of the anti-virals (Donald Rumsfeld – Tamiflu) filthy rich. Incidentally, the side effects of Tamkiflu exactly mimic flu symptoms. How convenient!

    April 30, 2009 at 3:42 pm |
  48. Abhi RE:ADAM

    Adam, I am afraid in this case that assertion is not correct. With Swing flu or an Pandemic Flu it is not the progative of the government to make money, that is paranoia at it's best there. All states should implement their Emergency Operation Plans for Pandemic Influenza. The operations at the state and local level are the most important here for containing a serious outbreak if this virus gets more severe. The national emergency response efforts need to support the state services and provide doctors and clinics with the tools and most up to date vaccine information.

    April 30, 2009 at 3:55 pm |
  49. Linda J. Painter

    In reference to the torture video from the United Arab Emirate shown today on Wolfe Blitzer's program, I am thoroughly disgusted with CNN for the first time ever. Whose horrendous judgement allowed this to be broadcast? Accompanied by graphic descriptions, these images become recorded in the viewer's unconscious. This very process, which includes all forms of violent entertainment, is encouraging the downward dehumanizing spiral which now threatens all mankind. That puts CNN in the same arena with violent wrestling, video games which encourage torture and death, and all other violent pursuits gloried in for entertainment all over the world. Why must mankind self-destruct? I am livid, offended, aghast, and frightened for the future of my grandchildren. Wake up, people!

    April 30, 2009 at 5:58 pm |
  50. Dawn-Atlanta

    What evidence do we have that the H1N1 started in Mexico?
    Isn't is possible that someone traveling to Mexico spread the disease and is spread rapidly because mexicans are more succeptable to viruses?
    Does Mexico, and other countries, use vaccinations on a regular basis as done in the U.S.?
    It seems ironic that is became widespread right after the Presidential visit to Mexico (just a thought).

    April 30, 2009 at 10:36 pm |
  51. Dawn-Atlanta

    I traveled to Mexico City about six weeks ago; when I returned I became ill within 24 hours of my return.
    I did not visit the doctor but had flu-like symptoms; I don't get sick often but this felt particularly bad and it took me about two weeks to fully recover.
    Now I wonder if I had the H1N1 virus.

    April 30, 2009 at 10:44 pm |
  52. Joy Harris

    My question is whether those people who are getting the swine flu now will later have immunity against it if later their is a more serious strian of swine flu that starts in the fall. Also, is it possible to develop a vacine from the people who have had mild cases by using their antibiodies.

    May 2, 2009 at 4:16 pm |
  53. Gary

    What I would like to know is if there is any truth behind some rumors now surfacing that people are being re-infected with the flu and that some of these cases are more serious?

    May 2, 2009 at 4:54 pm |

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