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U.S. taking aggressive action against swine flu

April 27, 2009

WASHINGTON (AP) -- U.S. officials said Monday they were acting aggressively to confront the spreading swine flu virus -- now confirmed in 40 victims -- while President Barack Obama said there was concern but not yet "a cause for alarm," A travel advisory was being prepared suggesting Americans not travel to Mexico, center of the outbreak.

Dr. Richard Besser, acting director of the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, said that so far the disease in the United States seems less severe than the outbreak in Mexico, where more than 1,600 cases have been reported and where the suspected death toll has climbed to 149. No deaths have been reported in the U.S.

"I wouldn't be overly reassured by that," Besser told reporters at CDC's headquarters in Atlanta. He raised the possibility of more severe cases in the United States.

Besser said a new U.S. travel advisory was being prepared suggesting "nonessential travel to Mexico be avoided."

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The confirmed cases announced on Monday were double the 20 initially reported by the CDC. Besser said this was due entirely to further testing in New York at a school in Queens, bringing the New York total to 28.

Besser said other cases have been reported in Ohio, Kansas, Texas and California. He said that, of the 40 cases, only one person has been hospitalized and all have recovered.

The best way to keep the disease from spreading, he said, is by taking everyday precautions such as frequent handwashing, covering up coughs and sneezes and staying away from work or school if not feeling well.

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On the Net:

WHO swine flu page: http://www.who.int/csr/disease/swineflu/en/index.html

CDC: www.cdc.gov

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