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Swine Flu One Step Closer to Pandemic

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

'Serious Virus'

During today's joint news conference, a reporter asked why officials are so concerned about the new flu virus, given the fact that normal seasonal flu kills an average of 36,000 people in the U.S. during a typical flu season.

The reason is that it's a new, unpredictable virus that "has pandemic potential," Fauci replied. "It really is something different."

"This is a serious virus, this is a serious outbreak," Besser agreed.

"You don't know if it's going to fizzle out in a couple weeks or become more or less virulent or severe in the diseases it causes," Besser said. "If we could see into the future, that would be wonderful. But that's not the case. That's why we're being aggressive."

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