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At Least 16 Dead, Hundreds Ill in Swine Flu Outbreak in Mexico
Date:4/24/2009

oms in Mexico in recent weeks, most of them among healthy young adults, with 57 deaths in Mexico City and three in central Mexico, the Times said.

That could be worrisome. Seasonal flus usually strike hardest at infants and the elderly, but pandemic flus -- such as the 1918 Spanish flu -- often strike young, healthy people, the newspaper reported.

On Thursday, U.S. health officials announced that seven people in California and Texas had now been diagnosed with a unique form of swine flu.

All seven people have recovered, Dr. Anne Schuchat, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said during an afternoon teleconference. "So far this is not looking like a very severe influenza," she said.

The patients -- three females and four males -- range in age from 9 to 54, Schuchat said.

The first two cases were reported Tuesday in California. There are now five cases in California, including the father of one of the original patients. The other two cases are near San Antonio, Texas, Schuchat said.

"At this point we don't know the extent of the spread of this strain of human influenza derived from swine," she said. "We don't know exactly how people got the virus. None of the patients have had direct contact with pigs."

People can get the virus without contact with pigs, but that's unusual, Schuchat said. "We believe at this point that human-to-human spread is occurring," she said. "We are likely to find more cases and that will not be surprising."

According to Schuchat, the virus in the United States is influenza A N1H1 mixed with swine influenza viruses. The virus contains genetic pieces from four different flu viruses -- North American swine influenza, North American avian influenza, human influenza viruses and swine influenza viruses found in Asia and Europe, she said.

"That particular genetic co
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