Spread of virus shows islands no longer in evolutionary isolation.
Swine flu has reached the Galapagos Islands, and the first human fatality there has caused widespread alarm, threatening to undermine a booming tourist industry — mixed news for conservation efforts on the Ecuadorian archipelago.
Since the middle of August, when the first case of pandemic H1N1 influenza on the Galapagos was confirmed, the population of Puerto Ayora on Santa Cruz — the island with the biggest human population — has been on high alert.
Bars and nightclubs along the main strip were among the first businesses to close and for almost two weeks all activities in the town’s schools, colleges and universities were suspended in an effort to prevent further spread of the disease.
In spite of these measures, the virus caused its first death on the islands when a 29-year-old man with swine flu died of a heart attack on 28 August.