Public Health

Morning Rounds: Swine Flu Statue, Vexing Vaccines, Hamburg Stocks

Edgar Hernandez, first reported swine flu case in Mexico, who will soon have a statue named after hi

Edgar Hernandez, 5, soon to have a statue erected in his honor Alexandre Meneghini/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Alexandre Meneghini/AP

Good Morning after a long holiday weekend.

Here are the stories we found of interest this morning:

We know tourism in Mexico has been suffering, thanks to swine flu fears, but this effort to boost the country's image seems a bit of a stretch:

The governor of Veracruz, Mexico is comparing the five-year old La Gloria boy suspected of harboring and surviving the first known case of the new H1N1 virus to the legendary cheeky Belgian boy who defeated enemy troops by urinating on them.

"La Gloria is now an important tourist destination. Next week we'll inaugurate a statue of the child Edgar Hernandez that resembles the Manneken Pis in Brussels, Belgium, for having carried out a similar exploit," Governor Fidel Herrera Beltran told AFP on Sunday.

Meanwhile, WHO reports at least 46 countries have confirmed nearly 13,000 swine flu cases. Mexico reports 83 deaths, the U.S. 12 deaths, and Canada two deaths as officials race to develop a vaccine.

To Vaccinate or Not?

Speaking of vaccines, NPR's Patti Neighmond reports on Morning Edition this morning that cases of pertussis — a highly contagious and sometimes fatal bacterial disease often known as whooping cough —- are on the rise in the last 10 years. At the same time, fears fears about the potential link between routine childhood vaccines and long-term health problems are on the rise, prompting some parents to opt-out.

The price of opting out? One in 20 kids who do not get vaccinated against whooping cough end up getting the illness, scientists report.

Hamburg Must Divest

And finally, newly-minted FDA Commissioner Peggy Hamburg and her hedge-fund managing husband, Peter Fitzhugh Brown, must divest themselves of hedge-fund holdings and drug company stocks before Hamburg can officially take up her post.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Hamburg and Brown control assets between $21 million and $40 million.

Brown has already sold his stock in Abbott Laboratories, shares in Johnson & Johnson, Merck & Co. and Medco Health Solutions Inc., which he inherited from his father, the Journal reports.

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