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Although Swine Flu Cases Are Up, U.S. Officials Are Guardedly Optimistic
Date:5/4/2009

, even though its genetic makeup clearly points to pigs as the source of the pathogen. However, in this case a human appears to have infected the livestock, not the other way around, the WHO reported. A worker on the farm had traveled to Mexico, come back to Canada and fallen ill. WHO officials stressed that the swine flu cannot be transmitted through the consumption of pork products.

Meanwhile, scientists are racing to produce a vaccine against the new flu strain, but the shots -- if needed at all -- wouldn't be available until fall at the earliest, U.S. health officials have said.

The current plan is to have vaccine manufacturers complete production of next year's seasonal flu vaccine, then, if necessary, switch to the production of the H1N1 vaccine, Schuchat said.

Because the new flu strain is a combination of pig, bird and human viruses, health officials are worried that humans may have no natural immunity to the pathogen.

Meanwhile, the U. S. Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission warned consumers Friday to avoid Internet sites and other promotions that offer products claiming to diagnose, prevent, treat or cure the swine flu virus.

"Consumers who purchase products to treat the novel 2009 H1N1 virus that are not approved, cleared or authorized by the FDA for the treatment or prevention of influenza risk their health and the health of their families," Michael Chappell, acting FDA Associate Commissioner for Regulatory Affairs, said in a news release. "In conjunction with the Federal Trade Commission, the FDA has developed an aggressive strategy to identify, investigate and take regulatory or criminal action against individuals or businesses that wrongfully promote purported 2009 H1N1 influenza products in an attempt to take advantage of the current flu public health emergency."

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