Can the "Mexican flu" be traced to the Centers for Disease Control?

By Peter Duveen

PETER'S NEW YORK, Saturday, May 2, 2009--The strain of flu that allegedly began circulating in Mexico in March and April and that has appeared in other countries since, including the United States, may have emerged from research at the U.S Centers for Disease Control. This flu has been mistakenly referred to as "swine flu." While its composition contains elements of "swine flu," it has not been shown to infect swine. This article will refer to the new strain of flu as the "Mexican flu," after the country whose capital, Mexico City, has been virtually shut down as a result of its presence there.

McClatchy Newspapers tells us the following about it:

"Q. What makes this swine flu (sic) virus special?

"A: It's a novel combination of bird, pig and human viral genes never before found in the U.S. or elsewhere, so people have no immunity to it. It's a descendant of the H1N1 virus that killed tens of millions of people worldwide in the pandemic of 1918-1919, mixed in with recent strains of swine and bird flu viruses."

Assuming that McClatchy did not get it wrong, let's find out where the 1918-1919 flu, also known as the "Spanish flu," came from.

A webpage not changed since 2005 on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website states the following:

"CDC researchers and their colleagues have successfully reconstructed the influenza virus that caused the 1918-19 flu pandemic, which killed as many as 50 million people worldwide. A report of their work, 'Characterization of the Reconstructed 1918 Spanish Influenza Pandemic Virus,' was published in the October 7 (2005) issue of Science. The work is a collaboration among scientists from CDC, Mount Sinai School of Medicine , the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology , and Southeast Poultry Research Laboratory."

A summary of the research states: "All laboratory work was conducted at CDC."

Scientists wanted to study the Spanish flu for its virulence. They were able to obtain samples from the bodies of victims who died from this strain of flu in 1918/1919. By 2005, they had successfully reproduced those segments of the flu that gave it its toxic "kick." The resurrected flu was tested on laboratory animals, and it was demonstrated to cause severe lung infection.

In a question-and-answer format, the CDC states the following:

"Will the 1918 virus strain used during these experiments at CDC be made available to other research institutions?

"CDC currently has no plans to distribute this virus. If other individual scientists desire to work with the agent, consideration will be given to hosting them at CDC."

Unless this policy has been changed, the only place the 1918 flu was available since the original outbreak was at CDC labs. Since the Mexican flu has the 1918 flu strain as a component, it is hard to draw any conclusion other than that the CDC was involved in its creation.

The Spanish flu of 1918-1919 was an extremely deadly disease that killed some 2.5 percent of its victims, compared to 0.1 percent for previous flues, according to a description of the contagion on the Stanford University website. A worldwide flu with a similarly high mortality rate has not emerged since then.