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WHO Warns of Possible Pandemic as Mexico Seeks to Contain Swine Flu
Date:4/25/2009

still eight confirmed human cases of swine influenza in the United States. There is a serious situation in Mexico with severe disease and a number of confirmed swine influenza infections, generally among adults." She stressed that "these are very dynamic times and many things will be changing," and the spread and severity of the virus would be "very hard to predict."

While agents at the Border Infectious Disease Surveillance system at the U.S.-Mexico border are on high alert for those who might be carrying the flu, containing the virus was probably out of the question, Schuchat said. "If we found only a new influenza virus in one place, in a small community, we might be able to quench or contain it. But with infections in many different communities as we're seeing, we don't think that containment is feasible," she said. She added that as investigators probe deeper into cases in cities away from California and Texas, new cases are likely to emerge.

But Schuchat stressed that there are other ways to fight the flu. "Containment would be fantastic, but we think that there are many, many tools in our toolbox to reduce the illness and suffering that this virus is causing, and reduce transmission -- even if we are not in a circumstance where we could contain it," she said.

Schuchat added that steps are already being taken to devise a vaccine against this strain of swine flu, although the process takes time. "We are taking the initial steps in terms of preparing the seed virus to hand off to the industry partners, to produce large quantities. But you know it takes months to produce a vaccine," she said.

CDC officials said Friday that tests showed some of the Mexico victims died from the same new strain of swine flu that sickened the eight people in Texas and California. It's a worrisome new strain that combines genetic material from pigs, birds and humans.

"The United States government is working with the World Health Org
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