In Perote, residents of the hamlet known as La Gloria have complained since mid-March that contamination from the pig farm was tainting their water and causing respiratory infections. In one demonstration in early April, they carried signs with pictures of pigs crossed out with an X and the word "peligro" -- danger. Residents told reporters at the time that more than half the town's 3,000 inhabitants were sick and that three children under the age of 2 had died.
The United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization announced Monday that it was sending a team of experts to inspect pig farms in Mexico. Granjas Carroll, Mexico's biggest pig farm with a million head a year, issued a statement claiming that none of its employees had shown any signs of illness.
The first officially confirmed fatality from the disease occurred April 13. Maria Adela Gutierrez died in the southern city of Oaxaca, capital of the state of the same name. Gutierrez was a door-to-door census-taker for the tax board, meaning she had contact with scores of people at her most contagious point, before being hospitalized.
The new form of swine flu is now suspected in the deaths of 149 people and that 1,995 possible cases have been reported at hospitals, all patients suffering serious pneumonia; of those, 172 have been confirmed as infected with the new strain.