On Tuesday, President Arias and the Secretary of Health responded to the swine flu pandemic by signing an emergency health declaration giving health professionals in Costa Rica the authority to implement whatever measures necessary to prevent the spread of the virus. To date, there have been two confirmed cases and thirty-five suspected cases in Costa Rica. The medical community anticipates more cases in the coming days and weeks.
The Costa Rican government has urged people to avoid the traditional cheek kiss upon greeting one another. (Hopefully, everyone has gotten the message so no one is offended if I avoid this friendly overture.) Shaking hands is out too, unless, like Monk, you have a “wipe” handy to use immediately afterwards.
Remember: Cover your mouth if you sneeze or cough and wash your hands frequently with soap and water or an alcohol sanitizer. This holds especially true when you are out in public. The virus can live on surfaces for several hours so a grocery cart, door handle or handrail at a mall can harbor the virus left several hours earlier by an infected person.
This is a global issue. Hopefully, the dire predictions will not materialize and the virus will cease to be a threat very quickly.