TEXT OF STORY
Steve Chiotakis: Mexico has reported at least 1,600 cases of suspected swine flu. More than a hundred people have died. Other cases — milder ones — have been found in California, Kansas, New York, Canada and New Zealand. And the virus is already having an impact on global markets and trade. Here’s Marketplace’s Steve Henn.
Steve Henn: At this point, not a lot amount is known about this variant of swine flue or the outbreak. But:
Dr. Keiji Fukuda: At this time, I think it’s fair to characterize our assessment of the situation as serious.
That’s Dr. Keiji Fukuda, assistant Director General at the World Health Organization in Geneva. He says the question is how easily this virus spreads from infected animals to humans.
But China is not waiting for more information to act. Overnight, it banned imports of live pigs and pork products from Mexico and the three U.S. States with confirmed cases of the disease.
Andy Rothman is a China Strategist at CSLA china pacific markets:
Andy Rothman: Oh definitely, the Chinese government is going to air on the side of caution now after having some rough experiences with SARS a few years ago and more recently with bird flu. So they’re going to be very, very careful.
China is the world largest pork consumer, but Rothman says this ban will have a tiny impact on world trade.
In Washington, I’m Steve Henn from Marketplace.
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