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Person-to-Person Transmission Now Common Route for Swine Flu in U.S.
Date:5/8/2009

Two U.S. deaths linked to flu also involved multiple chronic underlying problems, CDC says

FRIDAY, May 8 (HealthDay News) -- The number of confirmed or suspected cases of swine flu in the United States was approaching 1,900, federal health officials said late Thursday, with most new cases now caused by person-to-person transmission and not some link to Mexico, as was the case when the outbreak began nearly two weeks ago.

"Only about 10 percent of confirmed cases have a travel history for Mexico," which is believed to be the source of the outbreak, Dr. Richard Besser, acting director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said during an afternoon teleconference. "This indicates ongoing transmission in communities. We would expect that as this [virus] travels more around the country that we are going to see that number go down. While there may have been introduction from travel to Mexico, the spread that's ongoing does not require travel to Mexico," he added.

Besser said there were now 1,823 probable and confirmed cases in 44 states, with most of the infections mild and leading to a quick recovery. The median age of hospitalized individuals with swine flu is 15.

The two U.S. deaths linked to swine flu occurred in individuals with multiple underlying health problems, according to a CDC report released early by the New England Journal of Medicine on Thursday. 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 had a heart defect, low oxygen, and problems swallowing.

The second case involved 33-year-old schoolteacher Judy Trunnell, who suffered from asthma and rheumatoid arthritis and who was 35 weeks' pregnant and in a coma when she died in a Texas hospital on Tuesday. Doctors delivered her baby girl via Cesarean section.

On Friday, the CBC
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