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Swine Flu Continues to Spread Across U.S.
Date:5/2/2009

H1N1 strain lacks "virulent characteristics" of deadly 1918 virus, CDC notes

SATURDAY, May 2 (HealthDay News) -- The swine flu continued to spread across the United States on Saturday, as federal health officials reported there are now 160 confirmed cases in 21 states, with 13 hospitalizations and one death.

"We have information that this novel virus continues to spread with increasing cases and increased states affected, and we are acting actively and aggressively. Our highest priority is the health and safety of the American public," Dr. Anne Schuchat, interim deputy director for the science and public health program at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said during a noon teleconference Saturday. "We have seen times when things appear to be getting better and then get worse again. With a new virus like this, we don't know how it's going to behave or change over time."

Since schools are the focus of many outbreaks, the CDC has issued new recommendations for school closings. Because children may shed the virus longer than adults, the CDC is now recommending that affected schools remain closed for two week instead of one week, Schuchat said. Although, what any community decides to do is up to them and their own analysis of the situation, she added.

Meanwhile, the scope of the swine flu outbreak in Mexico might not be as great as once thought and the number of new cases appear to be leveling off.

As of Saturday morning, there were 443 confirmed cases in Mexico, according to the Associated Press.

On Friday, The New York Times reported that only 397 of 908 suspected cases that were tested turned out to actually be the H1N1 virus. Sixteen of those people have died.

Mexico had reported about 2,500 suspected cases as of Friday, but the real numbers could be half of that if further testing follows the same pattern, the Times reported.

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