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

e are aggressively taking the very early steps that are necessary for vaccine manufacture should a decision be made go ahead and ramp up to full-scale production," Cox added.

The current plan is to have vaccine manufacturers complete production of next year's seasonal flu vaccine, then, if necessary, switch to the production of the H1N1 vaccine, Schuchat said.

The flu strain is a combination of pig, bird and human viruses, prompting worries from health officials that humans may have no natural immunity to the pathogen.

Meanwhile, the U. S. Food and Drug Administration and the Federal Trade Commission warned consumers Friday to avoid Internet sites and other promotions that offer products claiming to diagnose, prevent, treat or cure the swine flu virus.

"Consumers who purchase products to treat the novel 2009 H1N1 virus that are not approved, cleared or authorized by the FDA for the treatment or prevention of influenza risk their health and the health of their families," Michael Chappell, acting FDA Associate Commissioner for Regulatory Affairs, said in a news release. "In conjunction with the Federal Trade Commission, the FDA has developed an aggressive strategy to identify, investigate and take regulatory or criminal action against individuals or businesses that wrongfully promote purported 2009 H1N1 influenza products in an attempt to take advantage of the current flu public health emergency."

As with the previously tested strains of the swine flu virus, new testing has found that the pathogen remains susceptible to the two common antiviral drugs Tamiflu and Relenza, according to the CDC.

On Wednesday, the WHO raised the swine flu epidemic level from 4 to 5, signifying that a pandemic is imminent, and urged countries to implement their pandemic plans. And on Thursday, WHO said it would cease calling the virus "swine flu," using instead its scientific name -- H1N1 influenza A -- to help reduce confusion o
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