Swine flu threat concerns East Texans with ties to Mexico

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) The mariachi music provides a festive mood for a Mexican market on South Street in Nacogdoches. It does little to cheer up Inocencio Palacios-Juarez who works there. The pastry chef's wife, children, and mother live in Mexico City. He speaks to them every morning. The telephone calls are always about the swine flu. "He is worried because he is here and they are over there," said an interpreter. "It's like he can't do anything about it and he can only stay in touch with them over the telephone and that worries him more."

The swine flu outbreak is separating families. One young mother was ready to send her children to visit their grandmother in Mexico as soon as school is out. She says that summer vacation will not happen.

Juan Roblas is having  similar conversations with his sister and brothers. They live in a pueblo not far from Mexico City. He's comforted by the safety measures Mexico is taking.  "The soldiers bring everything, medicines and masks, everything," said Roblas.

For some, help came too late. Missionary Nancy Karlinsky has a friend worried about her mother living close to the swine flu outbreak in Mexico.  "She talked to her mom and she said that a young man had died from the swine flu and his family has contracted the same viruses, but they're not ill like the boy," shared Karlinsky.

Swine flu, the disease, is still hundreds of miles away from East Texas, but for some residents the concern is very close to home.