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Swine Flu Infections Now at 141 in 19 U.S. States
Date:5/1/2009

ealth officials told reporters that six countries -- the United States, Canada, the Netherlands, Mexico, Germany and New Zealand -- have all shared samples of the virus for testing to further the vaccine effort.

"The good news is that the genes of all of the viruses we have examined to data are 99 to 100 percent identical," Nancy Cox, chief of the CDC's influenza division, said during the teleconference. "This means that it will be somewhat easier for us to produce an influenza vaccine."

"We 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."

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Swine Flu Infections Now at 141 in 19 U.S. States
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