Schuchat said steps were already being taken to devise a vaccine against this strain of swine flu, although the process takes time. "We are taking the initial steps in terms of preparing the seed virus to hand off to the industry partners, to produce large quantities. But, you know, it takes months to produce a vaccine," she said.
Besser said there are steps people can take to help prevent catching and spreading the flu, including frequent hand-washing. "If you are sick, it is very important that people stay at home. If your children are sick, have a fever and flu-like illness, they shouldn't go to school. And if you are ill, you shouldn't get on an airplane or another public transport. Those things are part of personal responsibility in trying to reduce the impact," he said.
Meanwhile, in Mexico, authorities continued to take dramatic steps -- including suspending school and public gatherings -- to try to contain the outbreak that officials say has killed as many as 149 people, and sickened more than 1,900 others in that country.
Some of the U.S. cases involved people who had recently returned from trips to Mexico, Schuchat said Sunday. The two cases reported in Kansas involved a husband and wife who had recently been to that country, she said. And The New York Times reported that some of the students at St. Francis Preparatory School, in Queens, had recently come back from Mexico as well.
Also on Sunday, Canadian officials confirmed four "very mild" cases of swine flu at a school in Nova Scotia, and two other cases in British Columbia. According to the AP, a provincial health official said that the infection that sickened the students in Nova Scotia "was acquired in Mexico, brought home and spread."
Swine flu is a respiratory disease of pigs caused by type A influenza. Swine flu does not normally infect humans. However, human infections do occur, usually after exposure to
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