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As Swine Flu Cases Mount, CDC Says U.S. Hasn't 'Dodged a Bullet'
Date:5/8/2009

family member gets sick.

"This outbreak has permeated a lot of American life," Robert J. Blendon, a professor of health policy and political analysis at the Harvard School of Public Health/Kennedy School of Government, said during the teleconference. "This is something that has really gotten into their lives. This is not something people are watching but not doing anything about. It's incredible when you see the list of things people are trying to do to avoid the situation."

Among those steps cited by the survey:

  • About 25 percent report that they or a household member have avoided air travel or avoided public places where many people gather. About one-third said they personally have taken steps to avoid being near someone who has flu-like symptoms.
  • 14 percent said they've stopped shaking hands with people, and 12 percent said they have stopped hugging and kissing close friends or relatives, even though 61 percent aren't concerned that they or someone in their immediate family may get sick from the swine flu in the next 12 months.
  • 83 percent said they're satisfied with the way public health officials have managed the response to the outbreak, and 88 percent said they're satisfied with the information health officials have provided.

On Thursday, Besser said most new cases of swine flu in the United States are now caused by person-to-person transmission and not some link to Mexico, as was the case when the outbreak began two weeks ago. Mexico is believed to be the source of the outbreak.

The two U.S. deaths linked to swine flu occurred in individuals with multiple underlying health problems, according to a CDC report released Thursday by the New England Journal of Medicine.

The first victim -- a Mexican toddler named Miguel Tejada Vazquez who had been treated at a Texas hospital -- suffered from a chronic muscle disorder called myasthenia gravis, and also
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