Mexico’s first known case of the novel influenza A virus (H1N1) was a six-month-old baby girl in a northern part of the country who had no known contact with pig farms, the head of the INDRE laboratory told the French press agency AFP.
“It’s a six-month-old baby girl from San Luis Potosí who is alive,” and first showed symptoms of the new strain of the H1N1 virus on February 24, said Celia Alpuche of the Institute of Epidemiological Diagnosis and Reference (INDRE) in Mexico City.
“It’s complicated to say where it originated but the earlier samples are not from rural areas, that’s to say areas with farms (or) pigs,” she added.
Two patient zeros
Worldwide media honed in on two possible ‘patient zeros,’ including a five-year-old boy who lived near a pig farm in eastern Mexico and a woman from Oaxaca, in the South East, after the government first raised the H1N1 alert three months ago.
Both had contracted the virus, which has now globally made over 700 casualties, in April.
But studies carried out on a backlog of samples show that a first handful of recorded cases appeared in March in central and northern Mexico, before any showed up further south, Alpuche said.
“We have other positive samples in March from Baja California (north-west), San Luis Potosí and Mexico City (centre),” Alpuche said, referring to results discovered around one month ago.