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Swine Flu One Step Closer to Pandemic

World Health Organization Again Raises Pandemic Alert Level Due to Swine Flu

91 Cases in U.S.

At least 91 people in 10 U.S. states have swine flu, and there has been one death of a swine flu patient in the U.S., according to the CDC.

The patient who died was a 22-month-old boy from Mexico who died at a hospital in the Houston area. He had several underlying health problems, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.

 Here is the CDC's latest tally of lab-confirmed swine flu cases:

  • New York: 51 cases
  • Texas: 16 cases
  • California: 14 cases
  • Kansas: 2 cases
  • Massachusetts: 2 cases
  • Michigan: 2 cases
  • Arizona: 1 case
  • Indiana: 1 case
  • Nevada: 1 case
  • Ohio: 1 case

But the situation is changing so quickly that "these numbers are almost out of date by the time I say them," Besser said today at a press conference.

Besser noted that health officials expect to see a "spectrum" of disease severity in the U.S. "Unfortunately, I anticipate that we will see more deaths."

Swine Flu Numbers Changing Constantly

The CDC and the World Health Organization (WHO) only report lab-confirmed cases -- not probable or suspected cases -- and they only do it once a day. So there may be a lag time before cases confirmed at the state or local level make it into the official tally.

The WHO today reported 114 lab-confirmed swine flu cases worldwide, but that figure is based on yesterday's CDC numbers and doesn't include three cases reported in Germany, one in Austria, and additional cases in New Zealand.

"It is clear that the virus is spreading; we don't see any evidence that it's slowing," Keiji Fukuda, MD, the WHO's assistant director-general for health security and environment, said at a news conference in Geneva earlier today.

 

Swine Flu Vaccine Work Under Way

Scientists are already working on creating a vaccine against the new swine flu virus.

"We're in full gear; the process is more speedy than [it's] ever been before, " Kathleen Sebelius, the new Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), said today at a joint news conference with the HHS, CDC, FDA, and the National Institutes of Health.

A swine flu vaccine may be created by early fall, but that doesn't mean it will be ready for distribution by then, health officials noted at the news conference.

Developing a vaccine means conducting clinical trials to see if the vaccine is safe, if it works, and what dose is needed, Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said at the news conference.

Fauci predicted that clinical trials of a vaccine against the new flu virus -- which he calls the H1N1 virus -- will "probably begin within a couple of months" and take several months.

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