hipaa and flu


I saw a major TV news station give out the name of the patient in Mexico that is considered patient zero. It is a four year old boy. There was an outbreak of this flu in a community next to a pig farm. Apparently he was one of many sick people in the neighborhood but it was his specimen that was sent to the CDC in the US so he is getting the tag. I mean, they gave the poor little kids name and address for heaven's sake. Do you think the CDC gave that info out? I was wondering where they got that info and if that sort of info is still private once it get into the hands of the public health system. Of course since he is a resident of Mexico and I am sure the reporters could give a **** less if they hold him up to public scrutiny. I am glad the little guy got better but I wonder if there will be any social and financial repercussions for the child and his family. I really cringed when they said his name on tv and the name of his town. I thought "why couldn't they just say a four year old boy in this part of Mexico"?

jmgrn65, RN

1,344 Posts

Specializes in cardiac/critical care/ informatics. Has 16 years experience.

I don't seriously that HIPPA even applies in Mexico,also they usually have get permission to use a minor's name. But again it is in Mexico so all bets are off.

morte, LPN, LVN

7,015 Posts

i thought i heard on the news that the pig farm had been cleared? 3pm today......

Specializes in CVICU.

I thought Mexico initially sent samples to Canada to be tested? I remember hearing that anyway... and in poor taste or not, HIPAA is not an international law.


1 Article; 5,758 Posts

This thread isn't about pig farms. It is about announcing a tyke's name on the news, giving his location and calling him patient zero. I noticed another news station gave similar information but left out his name. Imagine that your child is recovering for an infectious illness, you are relieved he is doing well. You turn on the tv and hear his name and your families location and the name of the illness announced on the news. Even if you were in another country it would be disturbing experience don't you think? However, one person here said that they might have gotten permission to use the name. I will admit that is a possiblity, but I have my doubts.


1 Article; 5,758 Posts

Well CBS had a picture of the kid on it's news segment this evening. I can't imagine they would do that without the parents permission. So I guess they got permission.

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