The Swine Flu pandemic is slowly but surely crawling over Brazil. The death toll is up to 134 people. So far it has been concentrated in the south of the country (south of us as well). But as these things are known to do, the bug is making its way northward.
As of today there have been two deaths from the flu here in Niterói. Given the introduction of the virus into the local area the health department has now ordered all the public schools closed until further notice. It has been a week and they just extended it for another week. (Although some private schools and both of the English schools I teach at are remaining open.)
Given Luiz’s compromised immune system this situation is of particular concern to us. I’ve bought some anti-bacterial gel for us to use when using the buses or going shopping. But there is definitely a worry just under the surface.
When we went to see his doctor the other day I inquired about getting a flu shot for Luiz. It does not address the Swine Flu virus, but would help prevent about 30% of other potential infections. As a Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia patient he cannot take a “live” vaccine, as his system may not tolerate the small dose infection and he might just get the flu! It has to be a synthetic vaccine.
While the synthetic version of this year’s flu shot is available throughout the US it is not available here. So – we slather on more disinfectant gel and try to stay out of harm’s way.