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  • Where H1N1 began La Gloria considered Town Zero in outbreak of H1N1 strain

    http://www.edmontonsun.com/news/colu.../11054091.html

    LA GLORIA, Mex – The road in and out of Town Zero is paved by swine flu.

    There are 10 kilometres of fresh blacktop, as well as a new playground and even a recently unveiled statue in the centre of this dusty Mexican village.

    All of it is what H1N1 left behind for La Gloria’s 3,000 residents.

    Then there are the persistent questions, dogged accusations and perhaps a prescription for some hope in calming worldwide fears over the new influenza virus.

    It’s here in La Gloria, three hours outside Mexico City, where it’s believed H1N1 made the antigenic shift into humans.

    This may well be the innocuous birthplace — where locals ride burros to the nearby fields to tend to corn grown in waves on slippery slopes — where the pandemic began.

    Before swine flu, the last interesting thing to happen here was when the town was renamed after a revolutionary leader tried the locally fermented maguey juice hooch and proclaimed loudly "Gloria!"

    Before that, the place was named after a chicken, which gives you a sense of where it had previously placed in importance.

    Then, earlier this year, people here fell ill.

    “It was the first time we can remember everyone getting sick,” recalls local 30-year-old mom Maria, as she buys tortillas inside La Gloria’s ‘Groceries and Seeds’ shop.

    Not willing to offer up her last name, she explains she at first wasn’t worried when her six-year-old child complained of headaches.

    Then health officials began to take blood samples from everyone — even offering to pay for some of them.

    From February on, about 60% of the town complained of influenza-like illnesses. Mexican doctors at first thought it was just the regular flu, which is as common in La Gloria as goat droppings down main-street.

    But a blood sample taken from Edgar Hernandez Hernandez, a five-year-old boy in town, would eventually come back positive for a brand new H1N1 strain.

    His family says he began feeling ill in late March.

    Edgar stayed in bed for three days, though slept with other family members.

    He’d greet his little brother with kisses. No one else in the household became sick.

    However, Patient Zero had been identified, and Edgar and his family have found fame in that.

    They travel to public appearances in Mexico. His father, a bricklayer, has the new use of a slightly used Ford pickup truck.

    Edgar now enjoys an education bursary.

    It’s his image that’s been cast into an effigy over a fountain pond.

    “Here’s the f---ing statue,” says one man, as he leads us to it.

    It sits next to the just built sports court and is as new as the ribbon of fresh pavement on main-street.

    It’s all thanks to government programs. And H1N1.

    Many townspeople see this as political window-dressing. Others welcome any attention. And it has had an impact. The government maintained power easily in this state during a recent mid-term election.

    The statue is not in honour of the virus, Mexican officials stress, but rather, says Jorge Brandy, spokesman for the state of Veracruz, a symbol of a town’s strength.

    La Gloria was never completely sealed off, and visitors — many who had travelled through during the Easter season — simply spread far and wide.

    Officially, H1N1’s first fatality — number one of more than 2,800 around the world so far — was Maria Adela Gutierrez Cruz, a 39-year-old tax collector from Oaxaca, Mexico.

    But the count may have started here earlier than that.

    They buried Maria Hernandez Pedraza’s seven-month-old son, saying he and another La Gloria baby had died of pneumonia. No one’s willing to dig up Maria’s boy, or the other child, to reconsider the cause of death.

    “I have no idea where (the new flu) came from,” says Maria, as she stands near La Gloria’s school as uniformed children line up outside.

    For a reason that remains unclear, the family had not yet named the baby before he died.

    Today, Maria and other local women who gather on the street don’t want to talk about what has been taken from them. They instead insist more be offered to the town.

    “They think that we’re ignorant, but we’re not,” says La Gloria resident Rosalia Mendoza.

    If not the science, they clearly understand the politics of being Town Zero. They want more help for families who don’t qualify for financial support, a local medical clinic and even Internet access at the school.

    La Gloria’s population is largely "campesino," farm-folk who often do without computers or telephones. But there is no lack of mass communication.

    Instead of ads in a local newspaper or radio, a local shop owner uses loudspeakers, set high on poles, to blare out ear-splitting specials of the day — from fresh pork rind to microwave popcorn.

    Then there is the soft-spoken network, inside stores and on the streets, as locals gather in the chill of evening.

    Some here have decided the arrival of H1N1 is somehow connected to U.S. President Barack Obama. He had visited Mexico just before the outbreak, they point out suspiciously.

    Many more say it has to be the collection of giant pig farms, located a short drive outside of town. They figure a stiff wind whipping up from the south, where the commercial swineherds are located, brought the virus here.

    They have a word for the political fallout that’s followed — "cochinero," which means a place fit for hogs.

    In a community hall in nearby Chichicuautla, lawyer Dulce Maria Vazquez meets with area residents angry about the pig farms.

    “It’s been Christmas in May,” she says of the tax money spent sprucing up La Gloria.

    They just want the pig farms shut down.

    Guadalupe Serrano Gaspar, a 76-year-old resident of La Gloria has been fighting the facilities for years. He’s spent time in police custody because of it.

    “I can’t stay quiet,” he says as he walks newly paved main-street.

    “This is...a cancer.”

    Prof. Octavio Rosas-Landa, an economics professor and activist from Mexico City, complains: “All the industrial practices not allowed in Canada and the U.S. come here.”

    He believes faulty systems — from the use of limited water resources to the low immunity of local residents — led to a perfect breeding ground for H1N1.

    Mexican politicians and officials who run the area’s 106 pig farms, some partially owned by U.S.-based Smithfield Foods Inc. — the world’s largest producer of pork — counter that their complexes have been tested, with no trace of H1N1.

    While officials for Smithfield subsidiary Granjas Carroll de Mexico would not grant Sun Media an interview, they have previously assured their animals are fully inoculated. No worker has gotten sick, they’ve noted.

    In La Gloria, everyone has an opinion on how the virus started, if their town was really the birthplace, whether officials acted quickly enough and even on the existence of H1N1 itself.

    But becoming "Town Zero" seems to have left a sense of baptism by fire.

    No one seems to fear the fast approaching flu season.

    If it’s such a threat, shrugs local shopkeeper Guadalupe Alante, then why did La Gloria survive?

    In fact, it put them on the map.

    “We simply do not believe in it,” he says of reasons to fear the influenza pandemic.

    “Because it did not destroy us, did it?”

    Swine flu didn't keep faithful away from Mexico City chapel

    The plague couldn’t keep them away.

    Even at the height of the H1N1 flu strain crisis, the faithful would still make the pilgrimage to the chapel of San Hipolito, in the heart Mexico City.

    They have gathered here again in front of the 17th Century edifice, because it’s the 28th of the month, and time to give thanks to San Judas Tadeo, the patron saint of lost causes.

    Mexico City’s most devout believers clog the public square, lugging religious statues — hoisting the icons toward dark clouds gathering over the church’s Baroque facade.

    Their religious chants compete with the barks of street hawkers, selling everything from flavoured ice treats to a hemorrhoid treatment.

    Walking through the happy mass, Daniel Busio Duran, a Mexico City taxi driver, cradles his idol like a child.

    During the initial months of the outbreak earlier this year, Mexican worshippers called on San Judas to help them cope.

    But now, there’s a belief among many that the deadly strain of flu has been more myth than reality.

    Devout Catholic Duran — along with others here — does not believe what scientists and politicians have said about swine flu.

    “The government is trying to scare people,” Duran says.

    “We never thought it was that bad.”

    It’s all just a way for the government to get money out of the World Health Organization, people here say.

    Duran compares H1N1 to El Chupacabras, the legendary "goatsucker" beast that is rumoured to roam parts of the Americas, attacking livestock. More myth than flesh, he points out.

    In the busy square, as the devoted hold their statues high over their heads, they pray for the impossible to take place.

    But not all have the same faith in what science says is happening right now.
    "If you could for a moment rise up out of your own beloved skin and appraise ant, human, and virus as equally resourceful beings, you might admire the accord they have all struck in Africa. Back in your skin of course, you'll shriek for a cure. But remember: air travel, roads, cities, prostitution, the congregation of people for efficient commerce - these are gifts of godspeed to the virus"
    The Poisonwood Bible

  • #2
    Re: Where H1N1 began La Gloria considered Town Zero in outbreak of H1N1 strain

    > It’s here in La Gloria, three hours outside Mexico City, where it’s believed H1N1 made the
    > antigenic shift into humans.

    no. We have one early case from Feb.24 from Potosi.
    The La Gloria sequences already have the 2 Northern markers which
    other sequences are lacking (--> more original)


    what's with the team of experts that was sent to LaGloria some months ago to
    take samples and examine the origin ?
    We have never heard from them again.
    http://www.flutrackers.com/forum/sho...d.php?t=121281
    http://www.cleveland.com/world/index..._scientis.html

    they don't tell us where the 2 most original sequences (4115 and 4487)
    are from. Thre is the mystery why these sequences have so few mutations,
    leading to the speculation that the virus may have survived for weeks,months without replicating.
    INDRE,Alpuche should know where/who the sequences are from.

    I sent emails to Arias,Sanchez,Alpuche,INDRE, reporters,health departments,
    Mexican news stations, blogs,scientists - no reply.
    I'm interested in expert panflu damage estimates
    my current links: [url]http://bit.ly/hFI7H[/url] ILI-charts: [url]http://bit.ly/CcRgT[/url]

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Where H1N1 began La Gloria considered Town Zero in outbreak of H1N1 strain

      I keep thinking about this comment from the US Navy site.

      Our CDC-BIDS collaborative border FRI surveillance program has resumed at 5 US-Mexico border clinics in San Ysidro, Calexico, Brawley, Tijuana, and Mexicali. The first identified case of influenza A/H1N1v in humans was identified in this population.
      http://www.med.navy.mil/sites/nhrc/g.../FRIUpdate.pdf
      The salvage of human life ought to be placed above barter and exchange ~ Louis Harris, 1918

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Where H1N1 began La Gloria considered Town Zero in outbreak of H1N1 strain

        Originally posted by mixin View Post
        I keep thinking about this comment from the US Navy site.

        Quote:
        Our CDC-BIDS collaborative border FRI surveillance program has resumed at 5 US-Mexico border clinics in San Ysidro, Calexico, Brawley, Tijuana, and Mexicali. The first identified case of influenza A/H1N1v in humans was identified in this population.

        http://www.med.navy.mil/sites/nhrc/g.../FRIUpdate.pdf

        That comment and the link refer to the first H1N1 officially recognized cases in the United States.
        http://novel-infectious-diseases.blogspot.com/

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Where H1N1 began La Gloria considered Town Zero in outbreak of H1N1 strain

          Thanks Laidback Al for clearing that up.

          Here is the first part of that section:
          NHRC has identified 1939 cases of influenza A/H1N1v virus among active-duty (1270), DoD dependent (390) and US-Mexico border civilian (275) populations.
          So in the other paragraph I quoted, it again referred to:
          5 US-Mexico border clinics in San Ysidro, Calexico, Brawley, Tijuana, and Mexicali. The first identified case of influenza A/H1N1v in humans was identified in this population.
          I had assumed the first time I read it that they were talking about the US because we know the first cases were found in Mexico (don't we?). But each time I've read it, I just keep thinking it was strange they didn't specifically say: "US population" if that's what they meant.

          In the DOD reports, our military operations overseas are included in stats; so I didn't automatically assume the Navy report was only talking about the US when it said US/Mexico border civilian populations.

          Admittedly, I've gone through several rolls of tinfoil with this pandemic. I probably used a 1/4 of a roll when I saw the Walter Reed Institute of Research had some sort of a submission connection to Mexico/47N.
          The salvage of human life ought to be placed above barter and exchange ~ Louis Harris, 1918

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Where H1N1 began La Gloria considered Town Zero in outbreak of H1N1 strain

            I had assumed the first time I read it that they were talking about the US because we know the first cases were found in Mexico (don't we?).
            Timelines can only be understood retrospectively. That is a fancy way of saying that we can only organized the sequence of events after the fact.

            The earliest known cases from March and possibly earlier did occur in Mexico. But at the time in late April when the official report in MMWR was published the authors believe they had a unique strain that had not been previously recognized. They were unaware that this novel strain was raging in Mexico. It was only later, after Mexican samples were sequenced in Canada, that it became clear that the two individuals reported in the MMWR article were infected with novel H1N1. There may have been other earlier infections in the United States, but these two will be recorded as the first two confirmed cases in the United States at the time of the report. I believe that are other individuals in the US who were infected with H1N1 earlier but only retrospectively confirmed later.
            http://novel-infectious-diseases.blogspot.com/

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Where H1N1 began La Gloria considered Town Zero in outbreak of H1N1 strain

              why can't CDC and INDRE cooperate and examine this LaGloria etc.
              as if it had happened on US-territory ?

              We don't need borders, when the world-health is at stake.

              The first case is the baby from St.Luis Potosi from
              Feb.24 but we have no sequences. We have no serology from
              LaGloria, whether that outbreak in Feb. was ******
              We don't know who/where 4115 and 4487 are from.

              And most important: we have no pig sequences. What strains
              had been circulating in Mexican pigs in the last 10 years ?
              What vaxes did they get ?

              Is anything going to change wrt. pigflu surveillance ?
              I'm interested in expert panflu damage estimates
              my current links: [url]http://bit.ly/hFI7H[/url] ILI-charts: [url]http://bit.ly/CcRgT[/url]

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Where H1N1 began La Gloria considered Town Zero in outbreak of H1N1 strain

                Originally posted by gsgs View Post
                > It’s here in La Gloria, three hours outside Mexico City, where it’s believed H1N1 made the
                > antigenic shift into humans.

                no. We have one early case from Feb.24 from Potosi.
                The La Gloria sequences already have the 2 Northern markers which
                other sequences are lacking (--> more original).
                .
                I think that we need to keep an open mind about this.

                Northern (CDC variant ii) might actually be the earliest viruses, and the markers that are lacking could be early mutations that became stable in the Swine Flu. I would suggest that these changes in the PA and NP segments went from wild type in the Northern viruses to human adapted form. We have to ask ourselves if Northern was not first, why the virus would mutate to the wild form. In addition, there is at least one HA silent marker in all viruses except Northern, once again supporting the theory that this was the first.

                Let's talk further about this when time permits.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Where H1N1 began La Gloria considered Town Zero in outbreak of H1N1 strain

                  Originally posted by gsgs View Post
                  why can't CDC and INDRE cooperate and examine this LaGloria etc.
                  as if it had happened on US-territory ?

                  We don't need borders, when the world-health is at stake.

                  The first case is the baby from St.Luis Potosi from
                  Feb.24 but we have no sequences. We have no serology from
                  LaGloria, whether that outbreak in Feb. was ******
                  We don't know who/where 4115 and 4487 are from.

                  And most important: we have no pig sequences. What strains
                  had been circulating in Mexican pigs in the last 10 years ?
                  What vaxes did they get ?

                  Is anything going to change wrt. pigflu surveillance ?
                  Helen Barnswell needs to ask the CDC at the weekly media briefing if their seroprevalence studies are available for public review. I would suspect that there is quite a bit of additional information of interest that is not yet in the public domain that could shed additional light on this historical discussion.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Where H1N1 began La Gloria considered Town Zero in outbreak of H1N1 strain

                    Originally posted by Mamabird View Post
                    I think that we need to keep an open mind about this.

                    Northern (CDC variant ii) might actually be the earliest viruses, and the markers that are lacking could be early mutations that became stable in the Swine Flu. I would suggest that these changes in the PA and NP segments went from wild type in the Northern viruses to human adapted form. We have to ask ourselves if Northern was not first, why the virus would mutate to the wild form. In addition, there is at least one HA silent marker in all viruses except Northern, once again supporting the theory that this was the first.

                    Let's talk further about this when time permits.
                    GS: With regard to the evolution of H1N1 Swine Flu, I offer the following for your consideration of possible mutational events over a month’s time that might have led to the Cancun strain that seems to currently predominate. This reflects a logical progression of change from earliest available isolates to later sequences.

                    First assume that a very early Mexican virus is the possible starting point (Northern – CDC variant ii). It is represented by CA/05 (3-30-09) and has the following genetic characteristics:

                    NS1: V123I (G0367A)
                    MP: Silent (A0492G and A0600G)
                    PB2: Silent (A2163G)
                    HA: T206S (A0658T)
                    HA: Silent (T1408C)
                    HA: Silent (C0022A)
                    NA: I106V and D247N (A0316G and G0742A)
                    NP: Silent (A1248G and A1143G)
                    NP: I100V and T373I (A0298G and T1118C)
                    PA: M582L (C1741A)


                    The first mutation is silent and represented by Mexico/4108 (4-03-09):

                    HA: A0022C


                    The second series of mutations (2) leading to Early Mex (CDC variant i) can be represented by Mexico/InDRE4487 (4-14-09):

                    NP: I373T (C1118T)
                    PA: L582M (A1741C)


                    The third series of mutations (5) leading to Pre-Cancun (CDC variant iii) can be represented by Mexico/4604 (4-19-09):

                    NA: V106I and N247D (G0316A and A0742G)
                    NP: V100I (G0298A)
                    NP: Silent (G1143A)
                    HA: Silent (C1408T)


                    The fourth series of mutations (6) leading to Cancun (CDC variant iv) can be represented by New York/06 (4-25-09):

                    NS1: I123V (A0367G)
                    HA: S206T (T0658A)
                    NP: Silent (G1248A)
                    MP: Silent (G0492A and G0600A)
                    PB2: Silent (G2163A)


                    This gives us 14 mutations in a very short period of time as the Swine Flu virus adapted to its new host. Since the end of April it seems to have been fairly stable. All of the other variations to date (Hamburg, Texas, Japan, Jersey for example) appear to have been self-limiting off-shoots from the strains above.

                    What do you think? Plausible?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Where H1N1 began La Gloria considered Town Zero in outbreak of H1N1 strain

                      sorry, mamabird, I had missed your earlier posts - too many threads here.
                      I suscribed now to this thread.

                      wrt. the original strain - you should consider what the ancestors had.
                      (e.g. Wisconsin/10 in segments 1,2,3,4,5,8)
                      ---- or see my triple-reassortant-index which is also here:
                      http://www.h5n1experts.org/forum/showpost.php?p=1099 ---------

                      there had been a few hundred mutations since then (out of ~5000 relevant positions),
                      it would be very unlikely if just those mutations had been undone in the early
                      evolution of ******.

                      In almost all of the critical positions these ancestors coincide with my index-strain.
                      And my index-strain is the average of ~10 early strains.
                      Two independent, very strong arguments, IMO.
                      I'm interested in expert panflu damage estimates
                      my current links: [url]http://bit.ly/hFI7H[/url] ILI-charts: [url]http://bit.ly/CcRgT[/url]

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Where H1N1 began La Gloria considered Town Zero in outbreak of H1N1 strain

                        Originally posted by gsgs View Post
                        sorry, mamabird, I had missed your earlier posts - too many threads here.
                        I suscribed now to this thread.

                        wrt. the original strain - you should consider what the ancestors had.
                        (e.g. Wisconsin/10 in segments 1,2,3,4,5,8)
                        ---- or see my triple-reassortant-index which is also here:
                        http://www.h5n1experts.org/forum/showpost.php?p=1099 ---------

                        there had been a few hundred mutations since then (out of ~5000 relevant positions),
                        it would be very unlikely if just those mutations had been undone in the early
                        evolution of ******.

                        In almost all of the critical positions these ancestors coincide with my index-strain.
                        And my index-strain is the average of ~10 early strains.
                        Two independent, very strong arguments, IMO.
                        Thanks for taking the time to look this over.

                        Wisconsin/10/1998 is a bit problematic for me since it is only a partial genome. Not sure what you mean exactly by "critical positions" and how that relates to the ancients, but most of the Swine Flu mutations of interest have a history in H9N2 and H5N1 infected birds and humans in the Far East. It seems to me Swine Flu would be mutating away from the wild type characteristics that may have found their way into the swine population and moved toward an adaption to its new human host.

                        Let's keep working on the investigation, and keep an eye out for better information from some earlier infections in Mexico.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Where H1N1 began La Gloria considered Town Zero in outbreak of H1N1 strain

                          the positions which you listed in post #10.

                          There my ******-index and my "******"-match index should coincide.
                          http://www.h5n1experts.org/forum/showpost.php?p=1099
                          (I should have called it ******-ancestor)

                          Also Wisconsin/10, where available, or Sw/Nebraska/1998 in
                          segments 1,2,3,5,8
                          Sw/Germany/1981 or such in segments 6,7

                          There is one exception : 492A(7) . I think this is a coincidence.
                          ****** mutated to G before 2009 and mutated back to A in April 2009
                          I'm interested in expert panflu damage estimates
                          my current links: [url]http://bit.ly/hFI7H[/url] ILI-charts: [url]http://bit.ly/CcRgT[/url]

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Where H1N1 began La Gloria considered Town Zero in outbreak of H1N1 strain

                            http://www.granjascarroll.mx/
                            http://www.granjascarroll.mx/en/1083-2/

                            GCM settles in the valleys of Perote and Guadalupe Victoria. It has 16 farms in the border
                            states of Veracruz and Puebla
                            leading pork producer in Mexico, participating annually with 13% of national production,
                            equivalent to more than one million 200 thousand heads.

                            Welcome. Farms Carroll de Mexico (GCM) is a Mexican company
                            incorporated in 1993 with the aim of raising, marketing and processing cattle
                            pig...

                            http://www.theinvestigativefund.org/...ed?page=entire
                            in the late 1990s, after the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) opened up
                            Mexican markets to massive pork imports from US companies like Smithfield Foods,
                            Ortega and other small-scale butchers in Mexico were devastated by the drop in prices.

                            In 1993 Carroll Foods, a giant hog-raising corporation, partnered with a Mexican agribusiness
                            enterprise to set up a huge pig farm known as Granjas Carroll de Mexico (GCM) in Veracruz's
                            Perote Valley. Smithfield, which had a longtime partnership with Carroll Foods, bought the
                            company out in 1999.


                            --------------------------------------------------

                            best match of ****** in segment 6 is in English swine from 1992
                            so I seculate Granjas Carroll started with European swine (Spain ?)
                            in 1993. They were quite isolated, didn't mix with other swine.
                            The European virus kept infecting their pigs.
                            Then in 1999 they were bought by Smithfield, NAFTA was
                            implemented and they imprted US-swine which just had the
                            new triple-reassortant swine pandemic.
                            This 1998 virus is the best match of ****** in segments 1,2,3,4,5,8
                            Then at some time between 1999 and 2008 the strains reassorted
                            and ****** was created in swine at GCM.
                            It still didn't spread to other countries, there was not much
                            exchange of breeding pigs, they raised their own pigs.
                            Then in early 2009 some swine-worker was infected
                            and spread it to contacts and the pandemic started

                            (my speculation)

                            -------------------------------------------------------------------

                            2010 Mexican swine sequences in this thread:
                            http://www.flutrackers.com/forum/sho...d.php?t=191727

                            -------------------------------------------------------------------
                            I'm interested in expert panflu damage estimates
                            my current links: [url]http://bit.ly/hFI7H[/url] ILI-charts: [url]http://bit.ly/CcRgT[/url]

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Where H1N1 began La Gloria considered Town Zero in outbreak of H1N1 strain

                              North American Triple Reassortant and Eurasian H1N1 Swine Influenza Viruses Do Not Readily Reassort to Generate a 2009 Pandemic H1N1-Like Virus

                              So how did it happen?
                              “‘i love myself.’ the quietest. simplest. most powerful. revolution ever.” ---- nayyirah waheed

                              Avatar: Franz Marc, Liegender Hund im Schnee 1911 (My posts are not intended as advice or professional assessments of any kind.)

                              Comment

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