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WHO Raises Swine Flu Alert
Date:4/30/2009

mpted Mexico to further restrict activity in that country in an effort to cut down on human-to-human infections, including a suspension of nonessential federal government activities, Mexican Health Secretary Jose Cordova said late Wednesday. Schools in Mexico had already been canceled until May 6, the AP said.

Mexico's efforts may be paying off -- the outbreak seemed to be stabilizing; confirmed swine flu cases doubled Wednesday to 99, but new deaths finally seemed to be stabilizing, the news service said.

Meanwhile, President Obama said Wednesday that U.S. public health officials were recommending that schools with confirmed or suspected cases of swine flu "should strongly consider temporarily closing so that we can be as safe as possible."

Texas has postponed all public high school sports and academic competitions at least until May 11 due to the outbreak.

At a press briefing Wednesday morning, Dr. Richard Besser, acting director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said there were 91 confirmed cases of infection with the swine flu virus in 10 states, with the one death. Sixty-four percent of the cases involve people under age 18, but patients range in age from 8 to 81, he said.

Kathleen Sebelius, the new secretary of U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS), said at the briefing that, "while we still don't know what this virus will do, we expect to see more cases, more hospitalizations and, unfortunately, we are likely to see additional deaths from the outbreak."

"Currently, the FDA [U.S. Food and Drug Administration] and the CDC are developing virus reference strains -- the information that is necessary to develop a vaccine," Sebelius said. "Today, there are a series of steps that HHS is taking in vaccine development. The process is more speedy than it has ever been before."

The earliest a vaccine could be ready is this fall, said Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the N
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