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Swine flu starts a trend in Mexico: face masks

May 4, 2009 |  9:38 am

Ken Ellingwood reports in a Times Foreign Exchange piece about Mexico's face mask phenomena: 

The suspected narcos were paraded before the media with a telling new accessory: masks. Not the bank-robber kind. The doctor kind. 

After all, even gangsters toting M-16s can get the flu. 

If the swine flu outbreak in Mexico has a dominant symbol, it is the surgical mask, or tapaboca, that millions of Mexicans have adopted as requisite wear despite conflicting advice about whether it does any good.

— Deborah Bonello in Mexico City.