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Obama Says Swine Flu Outbreak No Cause for 'Alarm'
Date:4/27/2009

Health officials checking persons entering U.S. for signs of sickness

MONDAY, April 27 (HealthDay News) -- President Barack Obama said Monday that the threat posed by the swine flu outbreak is a cause for concern but "not a cause for alarm," as the United States began monitoring its borders to contain the outbreak that has sickened 20 Americans so far.

"The Department of Health and Human Services has declared a public health emergency as a precautionary tool to ensure that we have the resources we need at our disposal to respond quickly and effectively," Obama told a gathering of scientists at the National Academy of Sciences, amid increasing worries worldwide about a possible pandemic, the Associated Press reported.

Dr. Richard Besser, acting head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said earlier Monday that Americans should be prepared for the problem to become more severe, and that it could involve "possibly deaths." He said U.S. officials were questioning border visitors about their health, looking for signs of possible infection.

The swift pace of developments in the United States -- where all 20 cases have been relatively mild and everyone has recovered -- came in response to some 1,600 swine flu infections and as many as 103 deaths in neighboring Mexico. And officials in other nations around the globe responded to the threat of a possible pandemic. The European Union advised against nonessential travel to the United States and Mexico. China, Taiwan and Russia considered quarantines, and several Asian countries scrutinized visitors arriving at their airports, the AP reported.

On Sunday, U.S. health officials declared a public health emergency in response to the swine flu outbreak, as the number of confirmed cases nationwide rose to 20.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said the declaration was a precautionary measure, and did not mean that the t
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