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While Swine Flu Cases Are Still Rising, U.S. Officials See Hopeful Signs
Date:5/5/2009

Mexican officials on Monday lowered the country's health alert level from red -- or "high" -- to orange -- or "elevated," CNN reported.

"The measures we have taken, and above all the public's reaction, have led to an improvement," Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard said at a news conference. "But I insist that the virus is still present, that we need to remain on alert, and the resumption of activities will be little by little, not all at once."

As with the previously tested strains of the swine flu virus, new testing has found that the pathogen remains susceptible to the two common antiviral drugs Tamiflu and Relenza, according to the CDC.

And that has led to a boom in sales of the two drugs in the United States, the AP reported Tuesday. Frightened by the prospects of the swine flu, Americans are snapping up the two antiviral medicines that treat the virus, whether they have it or not.

More than one-quarter of a million prescriptions for Tamiflu pills alone were filled at retail U.S pharmacies in the week ending last Friday. That's 34 times higher than the week before -- as the regular flu season wound down -- and more than double the peak of last winter's flu season, the news service said.

Since schools are the focus of many of the outbreaks, the CDC has issued revised recommendations for school closings.

Because children may shed the virus longer than adults, the agency is now recommending that affected schools remain closed for two weeks instead of one, Dr. Anne Schuchat, interim deputy director for the CDC's science and public health program, said during a teleconference on Saturday.

The U.S. Education Department has said that more than 430 schools had closed, affecting about 245,000 children.

St. Francis Preparatory School, the Catholic school that was at the center of swine flu reports in New York City last week, reopened for classes on Monday after being shuttered for
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