Another interesting development: About 38 percent of cases of the current swine flu involve vomiting and diarrhea, which is not typical of the seasonal flu.
Again, scientists don't know why this might be the case, said Dr. Fatima Dawood, a medical epidemiologist with CDC NCIRD, but clinicians and the public need to be aware that the virus may transmit through the gastrointestinal route in addition to the traditional respiratory route.
The number of confirmed or suspected cases of swine flu in the United States was approaching 1,900, federal health officials said Thursday, with most new cases now caused by person-to-person transmission and not some link to Mexico, as was the case when the outbreak began nearly two weeks ago.
On Thursday, the World Health Organization was reporting almost 2,400 confirmed cases of swine flu in 24 countries, with Canada, Spain and the United Kingdom having the most cases outside of Mexico and the United States.
Dr. Carolyn Bridges, a medical epidemiologist also with CDC NCIRD, said that experts would be watching developments in the southern hemisphere closely. "This may give us some clues as to what we might expect in upcoming winter months."
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on the swine flu.
SOURCES: John M. Quarles, Ph.D., head and professor, microbial and molecular pathogenesis, Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine; May 7, 2009, teleconference with Michael Shaw, Ph.D., microbiologist, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Disease (NCIRD), U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Carolyn Bridges, M.D., medical epidemiologist, NCIRD; and Fatima Dawood, M.D., medical epidemiologist, NCIRD; Len Horovitz, M.D., pulmonary expert, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; May 7
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