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U.S. Reports First Swine Flu Death
Date:4/29/2009

The new 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 virus.

Meanwhile, the AP reported Tuesday that the epidemic had crossed new borders, with the first cases confirmed in the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific region. New Zealand, Australia, Israel, Great Britain, Canada and Germany have also reported cases.

On Tuesday, Cuba and then Argentina suspended flights to and from Mexico, becoming the first countries to impose a travel ban, even though the World Health Organization said such bans were ineffective, because the virus has already taken root in more than one country, the AP said.

In Mexico, meanwhile, the toll from the swine flu epidemic appeared to be stabilizing, health officials there said late Tuesday, with only seven more suspected deaths, CBS News reported.

The virus is suspected in 159 deaths and 2,498 illnesses across Mexico, said Health Secretary Jose Cordova, who called the death toll "more or less stable." He said only 1,311 suspected swine flu patients remain hospitalized, a sign that treatment works for people who get medical care quickly, the news network reported.

On Monday, U.S. officials said they were tightening their travel advisory to Mexico, recommending that all nonessential travel to that country be avoided.

Also Monday, the World Health Organization raised the alert level over swine flu from 3 to 4, two levels shy of declaring a pandemic. A level 4 alert means there is sustained human-to-human transmission of the virus causing outbreaks in at least one country.

The United States has stepped up checks of people entering the country by air, land and sea, looking for signs of infection, and the CDC plans to distribute "yellow cards at ports of entry," Besser said Monday.

"These will provide information on swine flu, so that people comin
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