Mexico, which is already swept in panic over an outbreak of swine flu, the virus suspected of killing over 100 people and sickening more than 1,000 in the country, has now become the epicenter of another disaster: an earthquake.

At 12:46 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time, a magnitude 5.6 tremor struck Mexico's southern state of Guerrero, a popular tourist region that includes the cities of Acapulco, Taxco and Chilpancingo. The temblor's epicenter was 155 miles (250 kilometers) south of Mexico City, according to Julie Dutton, a spokesperson for the U.S. Geological Survey. So far there are no reports of deaths from the quake, Alfredo González of Mexico City's Protección Civil told Reuters América Latina.  

"It's considered a moderate earthquake," Dutton says, "[but] you'd feel strong shaking if you were near the epicenter." Dutton notes that even in a mild earthquake, Mexico's buildings may suffer significant damage because they are not ideally built to withstand such forces.

According to the Associated Press, the rumbling caused Mexico City's tall buildings to sway and office workers to rush outdoors. (The streets of Mexico City, normally a bustling metropolis, have been mostly abandoned in recent days due to fears surrounding swine flu.)

For more on earthquakes, see our In-Depth Report, and for information about swine flu, see our Guide to Swine Flu.

Image of churchgoers yesterday at the Metropolitan Cathedral (in Mexico City): sarihuella via Flickr