Friday, May 1, 2009

Influenza Epidemic

Dear Parents

An outbreak of "swine flu" has occured in Mexico but no cases of this disease have been documented in the Torreon area or other areas of the mission. Nevertheless, we are taking all the precautions given to us by both the government of Mexico and the leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. As of Wednesday, April 29th, there will be no zone conferences held in our mission, or in other missions in Mexico. The area presidency has suspended all large church gatherings for the week and the president of Mexico has asked that businesses close and that people stay home to prevent the spread of the disease President Caldaron will be re-evaluating the situation on May 5th and will give us further directives at that time. The Church has suspended the entrance of missionaries to serve in Mexico into the country at this time and no missionaries from Mexico will be entering the MTC in Mexico City for the time being. Missionaries who are scheduled to return home at this time will be allowed to do so as long as they do not currently have any of the symptoms.

All of the missionaries in the Mexico Torreon Mission have been advised to wash their hands at least every 2 hours with soap for 15 seconds in duration. They have also been advised to stay away from anyone with cold-like symptoms. If they feel more comfortable wearing a face mask, they are certainly welcome to do so. Many in the cities are doing such. This virus manifests itself very quickly with very high temperatures and headache accompanied by muscle aches, weakness, nasal congestion, sneezing, sore throat and cough. According to an email we received from our area medical advisor, 313 cases were diagnosed during the months of October to March with 30 deaths from those cases. News broadcasts continue to update us on the numbers every day. As we receive calls from missionaries with flu-like symptoms, we advise them that if their temperature is not over 39-40 degrees celsius, they are probably fine and to use the normal methods for relieving symptoms of colds and flu that are inevitible. The large media exposure about the swine flu has caused some of the missionaries to worry that their runny noses indicate the problem but in all cases, their temperatures have been normal or only slightly elevated.

Although all parents are concerned, we hope that the parents of our missionaries will feel peace by knowing that their sons or daughters are serving the Lord Jesus Christ at this time and are entitled to a great amount of protection in doing so. Please continue to pray for your missionaries and we will do all in our power to protect them from this outbreak of influenza.

Con amor,

Hermana Clark

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