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Swine Flu Outbreak Not a Pandemic at This Point
Date:5/3/2009

chief of the influenza division of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the CDC, did deliver some welcome news on the nature of the virus itself on Friday. She said during a teleconference that a preliminary analysis of the H1N1 strain finds it lacks certain "virulent characteristics" that made the 1918 flu pandemic strain so deadly.

And the new Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius, has made the decision to buy 13 million more courses of antivirals to replenish the antiviral stockpile, Schuchat said. "We don't know if we are going to need them, we just wanted to be ready," she said.

In addition, the United States has shipped 400,000 regimens of antivirals to Mexico, believed to be the source of the global outbreak, at the request of the Mexican government, Schuchat added.

Meanwhile, President Barack Obama has urged Americans to stay calm, noting that it was not clear whether the global outbreak of the never-before-seen flu strain was any worse than "ordinary flus." But, he added, agencies across the U.S. government are preparing for the worst, according to the AP.

In a strange twist on Saturday, swine flu was discovered for the first time in pigs. WHO officials reported on the organization's Web site that the virus had been detected in sick pigs on a farm in Alberta, Canada.

Until now, it was not known whether the virus could infect pigs, even though its genetic makeup clearly points to that possibility. However, in this case a human appears to have infected the livestock, not the other way around, the WHO reported. A worker on the farm had traveled to Mexico, come back to Canada and fallen ill. The swine are now under quarantine. WHO officials stressed that the swine flu cannot be transmitted through the consumption of pork products.

Asia also announced its first case, in Hong Kong. Officials there quarantined an entire tourist hotel where the victim
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