In fact, the Mexican government on Tuesday announced moves to revive an economy that had been leveled by the swine flu outbreak. According to the Associated Press, while annual Cinco de Mayo festivities are more or less canceled this year, car traffic was noticeably busier in Mexico City on Tuesday and fewer people were seen wearing surgical masks.
All of this followed the declaration by Mexican officials on Monday that the epidemic appeared to be waning, with no deaths linked to swine flu recorded since April 29. The flu alert was scaled back to allow cafes, museums and libraries to reopen this week after a five-day shutdown of nonessential businesses. Universities and high schools will reopen Thursday, and younger schoolchildren are to report back to school on May 11, the AP reported.
"The measures we have taken, and above all the public's reaction, have led to an improvement," Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard said at a news conference on Monday. "But I insist that the virus is still present, that we need to remain on alert, and the resumption of activities will be little by little, not all at once."
At the same time, officials from the World Health Organization said it was premature for countries to ease up on efforts to control the outbreak, but added that there were no imminent plans to raise the pandemic alert level.
What U.S. officials don't know is whether the never-before-seen virus will return, perhaps in a more dangerous form, when the regular flu season begins again late this year. Because the pathogen is a genetic mix of pig, bird and human flu strains, health officials are worried that humans may have no natural immunity to it.
Besser said Monday that the CDC continues to work to prepare a vaccine, although "the decision doesn't need to be made now whether to manufacture a vaccine" for the next flu season.
Federal health officials will be looking for clues to what the swine
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