Families flee swine flu, reunited in Charlotte

By Tom Roussey - bio | email

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - A lot of hugs and a lot of relief at Charlotte Douglas International Airport Monday night, as dozens of folks escaped Mexico City for Charlotte.

Aaron Underwood was reunited with his baby daughter Paulina and wife Concepcion. They had been visiting relatives in Mexico and wound up in the middle of the swine flu outbreak.

"I haven't been able to do anything except just pray and put my faith in God," said Underwood, who seemed very relieved to have his family back in Charlotte.

Grandfather Jose Arnal felt similar relief. His daughter and her three children live in Mexico City, and he urged them to come visit their grandparents.

"We're very happy to have them here," Arnal said Monday night.

His grandson Juan Garcia De Leon says one of his classmates has swine flu. He says she'll be okay.

He and his two sisters say they weren't so much worried as bored while still in Mexico City.

"You basically can't do much because everything's closed," said Anna Garcia De Leon.

"We don't really have anything to do except hang around the house," added sister Maria. "The movies, everything is being shut down."

Still, the teens were glad to be in Charlotte and their grandparents were very relieved to have them here.

Many folks we talked to were a lot more nervous about the swine flu than the Garcia De Leons.

"It's a little tense," said Mary Stevens, talking to us with her three kids next to her. All had the masks they'd worn in Mexico to ward off swine flu still around their necks.

Meanwhile, the number of suspected swine flu cases in the United States continues to grow. There are not suspected cases in both North and South Carolina.

Health officials in North Carolina won't say where the suspected cases are.

In South Carolina, several students at the Newberry Academy outside Columbia may have gotten swine flu on a trip they just took to Mexico.

Heather Creek is one of the students who may have gotten the swine flu.

"Sunday I started running a fever," she said. "And then we got on the plane, {and} a lot of other people started getting a little sick. We thought they were tired."

But it appears this was far more than just a group of tired students. Many like Heather are doing much better, but some are still sick. All the students are awaiting test results to see if they have swine flu.