After being stranded in Mexico for days, 17 Peruvians make it back home

Seventeen Peruvians stranded in Mexico after Peru suspended all incoming flights from the Aztec country last week finally made it back to Lima aboard a LACSA flight with a special authorization to land in Peru’s capital, reported daily El Comercio on Wednesday.

The passengers, submitted to a rigorous checkup upon arrival, were not infected by the swine flu, or the A H1N1 virus.

So far, no cases of swine flu have been reported in Peru. After a scare last week, Peru’s Health Ministry put all of Peru’s health care facilities and hospitals on yellow alert, and all incoming flights from Mexico were suspended.

Swine influenza, or “swine flu”, is a highly contagious acute respiratory disease of pigs, caused by one of several swine influenza A viruses. The virus is spread among pigs by aerosols, direct and indirect contact, and asymptomatic carrier pigs.

In humans, clinical symptoms are similar to seasonal influenza, but reported clinical presentation ranges broadly from asymptomatic infection to severe pneumonia resulting in death.

According to the World Health Organization, or WHO, “if a swine virus establishes efficient human-to human transmission, it can cause an influenza pandemic. The impact of a pandemic caused by such a virus is difficult to predict: it depends on virulence of the virus, existing immunity among people, cross protection by antibodies acquired from seasonal influenza infection and host factors.”

As of May 6, 2009, the WHO has reported 822 laboratory confirmed human cases of infection in Mexico, including 29 deaths. The U.S. has reported 403 laboratory confirmed human cases, including one death. Other laboratory confirmed cases with no deaths have been reported in Hong Kong, Canada, Denmark, El Salvador, France, Germany, Guatemala, Spain, Italy and, among others, the U.K.

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