Mexico's First Flu Death Exposes Containment Trouble

Response quick, but follow-up efforts weak
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Apr 30, 2009 10:33 AM CDT
The grave of Maria Adela Gutierrez is seen in Oaxaca, Mexico, yesterday.    (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – After a 39-year-old woman became Mexico’s first person to die of swine flu, authorities quickly responded—but efforts were mixed, the AP finds. Medical teams interviewed 472 people who possibly had contact with the woman, a tax collector whose family runs a convenience store; they temporarily closed the ICU where she’d been. But follow-up measures seem to have been weak.

After Adela Maria Gutierrez’s death, she tested positive for swine flu, but only 18 people, all hospital workers, were then screened. A neighbor whose family showed symptoms said she was promised a test, but never received one. Before Gutierrez died, she worked with someone from the region where the first case was detected. There, some 450 were diagnosed with acute respiratory infections, but only 35 were tested for the virus.