April 29, 2009

'Patient Zero' speaks out; 5 yr old is at center of swine flu

Posted: 08:30 AM ET

By Joshua Partlow/Washington Post

One person who may have helped launch a rapidly spreading flu outbreak likes to draw hearts and flowers in the dirt outside his home. He likes to climb trees and give hugs and play with his soccer ball. And despite a persistent cough, he does not, he insists, feel sick.

"Not anymore," said Édgar Enrique Hernández, a smiling 5-year-old Mexican boy who tested positive for the deadly new strain of swine flu in this windswept valley surrounded by pig-breeding farms. "I feel good."

Although authorities have not determined that swine flu started in La Gloria, a village of about 2,500 people in the state of Veracruz, Édgar, who got sick in late March, is the earliest confirmed case of the virus in Mexico. He was just one of several hundred people from La Gloria and surrounding areas that fell ill around that time in an unexplained outbreak that left two children dead and prompted authorities to fumigate the entire village.

"I don't have words, I don't have answers," said Édgar's mother, María del Carmen Hernández, as she cried under a portrait of Jesus in her living room. "I feel terrible about all of this, because the people are thinking that this was all my son's fault. I don't think this is anyone's fault."


Filed under: Health

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Dave of Detroit   April 29th, 2009 8:48 am ET

Very confusing-Our experts on TV state that you cannot get this flu from pigs and patient zero lives nears a pigfarm! Any reports on what the family members do for a living or if they have any contact with people that work in or near biological labs-There are two in Mexico City and I think at least one near Vera Cruz!

Michael Newsome   April 29th, 2009 8:56 am ET

After 9/11, President Bush allocated money so that the United States would be able to combat threats such as biological threats. Like we are facing now. We still do not have facilities to grow vaccines unbelievable.

hugh ~ california   April 29th, 2009 12:58 pm ET

@dave of detroit,
No Dave, you're confusing. I'm almost sure they said you cannot get this flu from EATING pigs. If one works in a hog farm and touches a pig's nose that was infected with the virus I'm sure one could get it that way.

Dr John Stewart   April 29th, 2009 1:00 pm ET

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Dave of Detroit   April 29th, 2009 1:04 pm ET

Hugh-Check out the Bacti facilities in Mexico City and Vera Cruz-The Washington Post did a series on them. Seems that Anthrax is in the soils of Mexico and these facilities don't even lock up their specimens. The CDC closed down the Bacti Lab at Los Alamos for far less than goes on in these drive through bacti dispensers!

sucker punched in OC   April 29th, 2009 3:21 pm ET

Only young Lewis died from the swine flu itself in 1976. But as the critics are quick to point out, hundreds of Americans were killed or seriously injured by the inoculation the government gave them to stave off the virus.

This is a FLU, not a border or immigration concern. This is not the first swine flue outbreak. Look and history and learn.

sucker punched in OC   April 29th, 2009 3:23 pm ET

President Ford's decision for a national inoculation against swine flu in 1976 is still debated by experts today.

OBAMA wants to spend $1.6 Billion. Same song on a different day.

Adonnica   April 29th, 2009 5:22 pm ET

This should have been expected. We all knew it was coming. Look at every movie that has ever come out with some real meaning they have all come true. The same with all the movies with these dead people or some type of virus that they knew would get out. Unfortunately we will die for it. However those responsible will face God!!!

Adonnica   April 29th, 2009 5:25 pm ET

Unfortunately God said theis day will come and it is here. Brace yourselves and lets get ready for whats really coming!!!!

Terry, TX   April 29th, 2009 5:51 pm ET

Now we know the New York students were on spring break in Cancun and infected the school.

We know the 2yr old death in Houston...the family is from Mexico...who flew into Monterrey Mexico...can't find out where they originated....then they drove to Brownsville visit family.....why wouldn't they have flown to Brownsville...the drive is horrible....the child was sick...maybe no passport. They end up in a Brownsville hospital and transferred to our Houston Children's Hospital...too late.

I have called the Harris County Health Offices to ask...given all sorts of phone numbers...until someone told me quietly the federal government won't let them say if they entered legally or not. If anybody can fill the blanks..sure would like to know.

CruzinSuzin   April 29th, 2009 6:49 pm ET

Ever read Stephen King's "The Stand"? That was scary. This is being handled quite well.

Kelli from Tampa   April 29th, 2009 7:00 pm ET

Wonder if the vaccine is going to be free? Half of the reason this is so concerning is the fact that so many are without health insurance in this country. No jobs (thanks to the greed on Wallstreet), no money..sure makes you wonder.
You cannot get H1N1 from eating pork, by the way.

Scott   April 29th, 2009 9:28 pm ET

Someone needs to find out how many employees called out sick between March & April at the Smithfield Pig Farm in Mexico. Smithfield refusing an interview with a CNN Correspondent reporter sounds suspicious.

ken   April 29th, 2009 11:16 pm ET

It is unfortunate that Mexico's drug smuggling is the root cause of the flu.

innocent kids lives are at risk.

Dodie ~ Irvine, CA   April 29th, 2009 11:26 pm ET

@ Kelli from Tampa

I have the normal flu right now, but I decided to do a dry run... I called 7 pharmacies, You know I work for Health Care Agency and I talked to the director, I called two hospital's ER and

NO ONE HAS TAMIFLU! Everyone has been ordering it and cannot get it. No one has it in stock.

Patti Caney   April 30th, 2009 12:07 am ET

I am amazed at President Obama's attitude, calm, clear agendas – for future success of America.
Regarding the Swine Flu pandemic....if one has the flu (and a temperature above 103 degrees) and does not go to the doctor immediately – how long after this "peak:" can one get tested to determine whether or not they have the Swine Flu?
Patti Caney

Patti Caney   April 30th, 2009 12:07 am ET

I am amazed at President Obama's attitude, calm, clear agendas – for future success of America.
Regarding the Swine Flu pandemic....if one has the flu (and a temperature above 103 degrees) and does not go to the doctor immediately – how long after this "peak:" can one get tested to determine whether or not they have the Swine Flu?
Patti Caney

Sady   April 30th, 2009 12:26 am ET


The Spanish Influenza was the same type of strain as the current influenza. H1N1 Type A, during the Spanish Influenza it took approximately 1 year for the full virulent strain to recombant to the deadly form. That took form in the winter. Could it be quite possible that this same strain may just be a warning of a more devasting deadly form to come? Why has no mention been made about the genetic sequencing being made on the recovered cells from soilder's who fell ill to the 1917-1918 strain been discussed. I would assume the pressure to break the genetic sequence would be invaluable.

Dodie ~ Irvine, CA   April 30th, 2009 12:34 am ET

@ Ken

Where are you getting your facts??? Where does Mexico's drug smuggling be the root cause of the flu? What level of education do you obtain???

Let me give you a hint. Swine... means pig! Not drug smuggler.!!!

If you point your computer to google and search on...Smithfield Foods & Granjas Carroll industrial pig farm. You will find the UN is investigating this, so I suspect they are more accurate than your drug lord hypothesis. You might be able to blame drugs on a lot of things, but this is NOT one of them!

Oh yes, this is a US half-owned Granjas Carroll industrial pig farm. Now why does that Not surprise me???

Michelle Cox   April 30th, 2009 2:24 am ET

I want Levi Johnston to know, my heart goes out to him! I have 4 boys ~ 19 16 15 & 6. My 19 yr old has a 1yr old (just turned 1 April 18th). I went to court with my son for the first time the day I saw Levi on your show. Please tell Levi, "He has rights too". As the grandma, it is very hard! Love & blessings to the Johnson Family!

Michelle Cox   April 30th, 2009 2:25 am ET

I want Levi Johnston to know, my heart goes out to him! I have 4 boys ~ 19 16 15 & 6. My 19 yr old has a 1yr old (just turned 1 April 18th). I went to court with my son for the first time the day I saw Levi on your show. Please tell Levi, "He has rights too". As the grandma, it is very hard! Love & blessings to the Johnson Family!

Joan Wells   April 30th, 2009 8:04 am ET

Swine flue

We should take action to prevent infection before swine flue is in the area were you live not after someone has been infected. Schools in Canada are just telling kids to wash thier themselves.

I would lke to know why all schools are not taking action with scheduled hand washing and stations for applying antibacterial lotion.
This would help before they are infected.

The cleaning of the schools should be stepped up at night. This would be a lot cheaper than just reacting to being infected and save lives.

As soon as a case in your area is proven then all schools should be shutdown and not wait until it is to late.

What is the private medical opinion about this type of prevention on your show?.

Thank you,
Joan Wells
Niagara Falls
Ontario Canada

debra martin   April 30th, 2009 12:15 pm ET

i think that some people is making this seem very or too serious. i dont think that its all that serious. its serious, but not all that serious. its being thrown out of porportion and shaking up the world. i think if all the proper precautions is being taken it will be under control sooner or later.

Kelli from Tampa   April 30th, 2009 7:43 pm ET

CNN was the first to bring the Swine Flu to hysteria level, lets not forget. Sending Sanjay down to Mexico, thank God he is not our Surgeon General. CNN I am sure got a lot of great ratings for that stunt.

Ade Otenaike   April 30th, 2009 9:06 pm ET

Since all the schools are clossing, what are they doing about churches, mosques etc.

Mar Degner   April 30th, 2009 9:22 pm ET

Hi Larry !
My name it's Mar Degner from California.
I think H1, N1 we need to more exercise, not relay in the Jim, at home around block in the nature, run, work out, sleep well, eat lot's of vitamins, drink lot's of water and minerals, but on daily basis, also keep doing our job and go to work and schools.If you get sick at least your organism will be strong to fight.

Michael R Minor   April 30th, 2009 9:29 pm ET

The swine flu could very well be a virus that has been dormant for centuries under tons of ice. As the ice melts from global warming migrating birds are given the opportunity to nest where ancient migrating birds once nested. Ancient migrating birds carried unknown viruses to their nesting areas to be frozen in time only to be unleashed upon modern man by our current migrating birds.
attachment...Testing sickly or recently deceased birds rather than healthy birds before they migrate may give us a headstart for developing a vacine.

Lloyd M Abrahams CPA   May 1st, 2009 12:57 am ET

Please ask Dr. Sanjay Gupta the following:
Why has no one even considered the real reason while the only deaths for the Swine Flu have been in Mexico or from 1 child who came from Mexico to Texas?
The answer may be found in "Montezuma's Revenge". This is why Americans from the US do not drink the water in Mexico. I have a cousin who went to medical school in Guadalajara. For his entire stay for Medical School he had to be careful not to drink the water (even Ice cubes can be a problem).
Yet Mexicans are able to drink the water without getting Montezuma's Revenge.
If we want to develop a real vaccine for the Swine Flu, we should do extensive diagnostic studies of the antibodies for the Queen's students that caught the flu, but did not die and by autopsy of the terminal flu victims in Mexico. Particular attention should be given to differences as why stateside victims have antibodies or DNA that does not protect them from Montezuma's Revenge, but did protect them from the Swine Flu from killing them. Why did the Mexicans who died from the Swine Flu in Mexico City did not have sufficient antibodies or DNA that would not protect them sufficiently to avoid the terminal effect of the Swine Flu, but are sufficient enough for them to avoid Montezuma's Revenge.
Another factor is that the stateside Queens students have been brought up probably with better health care than those that died of the Swine Flu from Mexico City. Did they have any vaccinations different from those that died in Mexico City??
Perhaps the US Department of Health Services and the Department of Homeland Security should look into it.
MRCANDU10 (Cousin of Mr.Get-It Done)

Michael Newsome   May 1st, 2009 10:16 am ET

I believe by the next flu season the H1N1 will have mutated and vaccines that are being grown with these strains. We'll no longer prove effective.

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