When Mexico reported large numbers of deaths due to H1N1 last April, the world was alarmed. Within Mexico, it was a national crisis. So many people were seriously ill and dying that hospitals were on the verge of collapse. Health care workers were abandoning their stations because they had seen too many colleagues die.
I check flu stories every day. Yet, I rarely see any about the status of the pandemic in Mexico. Thus, it was quite a surprise when I checked Google Flu Trends for Mexico and saw that many States are experiencing “Moderate” flu activity and one, Quintana Roo, is experiencing “High” flu activity. In fact, according to Google Flu Trends, Mexico as a whole has been experiencing higher rates of flu activity than the initial spring outbreak peak since November 2009.
So, what’s going on? I think there are three possibilities:
1. Google Flu Trends is wrong.
2. Mexican public health authorities have gotten much better at treating H1N1 cases.
3. Large numbers of deaths are being hidden.
If there really are significant numbers of pandemic flu cases in Mexico occurring now, it may not be long before we start to see increasing numbers of cases in US border states. So, it might be worthwhile contacting Mexican health care workers today to ask them what is going on in Mexico.