American Morning

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December 29th, 2009
06:00 AM ET

We found Patient Zero; here's how

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Dr. Sanjay Gupta and crew found patient zero tucked away in this small mountain village in La Gloria, Mexico"]

By Danielle Dellorto, CNN

It was late April. I remember it being a somewhat quiet news day when I received the call. It was an editor on our international news desk alerting us that about 100 people had gotten very ill in Mexico City with severe flu-like symptoms.

They had no clue what was causing it at the time. The only thing health officials were telling us was that the patients had contracted a highly contagious virus that hadn’t been seen in humans before. The hunt was on: Dr. Sanjay Gupta and I hopped on the next flight out to Mexico City to track down the mystery virus that was getting so many people so sick.

Within 24 hours of arriving, the dense city of about 8 million people had literally turned into a ghost town. The mayor was urging people to stay inside; the hospitals were overcrowded; schools, public transportation, and restaurants closed their doors. At one point, I remember walking down the unusually empty streets of Mexico City in awe. It was an eerie feeling, but also a defining moment for me as a journalist. I realized that people, not just in Mexico City, were scared of this unknown killer virus. What was it? Would they be infected? What should they do? We didn't know it at the time, but H1N1 influenza was about to become a global epidemic and the world was already looking to us for answers.

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Filed under: Health
soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. seiscat

    The Detroit bomber has what to do with the flu?

    December 29, 2009 at 11:02 am |
  2. Timmy

    Has anyone even concidered President Obama as being at fault for the bombing attempt of the airliner in Detriot? It was Obamas directive to ease restrictions on airline passengers from Africa! Why would the President Of the United States ever ease restrictions on countries who promote terrorism? I`ll tell you why because of the country of Kenya, Obamas roots! Obama wanted it to be easier for Africans to defect to the United States where he has ordered his immigration people to help encourage Africans of all countries to move to the United States while once here it would be nearly impossible for them to leave! Cut away all the bullcrap and our President is responsible for this attempted terrorism act!

    December 29, 2009 at 6:40 am |