Border checks for swine fluPosted: Updated:
The CDC is closely watching border crossings for possible swine flu cases. Customs and Border Protection officers have a procedure in place to handle anyone who might appear with a communicable disease including isolating the person, using protective gear and calling in medical staff and experts from the CDC.
Roger Maier the CPB spokesperson in El Paso tells me the public should not notice any difference while crossing the border but the inspectors are "keeping a close eye" out for possible cases. Similar procedures are in place from Brownsville to San Diego. So far there are no cases reported at border crossings. The inspectors are questioning people to see if they traveled to parts of Mexico where there's an outbreak.
Over the weekend, the number of suspected swine flu deaths in Mexico climbed to nearly 150. More than 1000 people are sick. Mexican authorities closed schools across the country to prevent the virus from spreading.
The CDC reports 40 confirmed cases in the U.S. -- none fatal. The first confirmed 20 cases were people who recovered without medication. So the cases have been mild in this country. It's not clear why this is the case.
The CDC is now advising Americans not to travel to Mexico unles it's absolutely necessary. Some airlines are waiving fees for people who want to to change their reservations to delay trips to Mexico this week. Airlines are watching for passengers for symptoms that might indicate they have the flu.
But curtailing travel here along the border is complicated. Millions of people cross back and forth daily to shop, work, visit relatives and go to school. Inspectors at border crossings are handing out a one page health alert listing swine flu symptoms and tips for avoiding cathing or spreading the flu.