April 29, 2009 in Nation/World

CDC: U.S. swine flu cases jump to 91 in 10 states

Associated Press
Developments on swine flu worldwide
Key developments on swine flu outbreaks, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, World Health Organization, and government officials:

• Deaths: 159 in Mexico, seven confirmed as swine flu and rest suspected. One confirmed in U.S., a 23-month-old boy from Mexico who died in Texas.

•Sickened: 2,498 suspected and 19 confirmed in Mexico. Confirmed elsewhere: 91 in U.S.; 13 in Canada; 14 in New Zealand; five in Britain; three in Germany; four in Spain; two in Israel; and one in Austria.

•Confirmed U.S. cases by state: 51 in New York, 14 in California, 16 in Texas, two in Kansas, two in Massachusetts, two in Michigan, and one each in Indiana, Ohio, Arizona and Nevada, according to CDC and states.

•U.S. Food and Drug Administration issues emergency guidance allowing certain antiviral drugs to be used in broader range of population if needed. Public health emergency declared and roughly 12 million doses of Tamiflu from federal stockpile to be delivered to states.

•Cuba bans flights to and from Mexico; Argentina suspends flights from Mexico; U.S., European Union, other countries discourage nonessential travel there. Arriving travelers questioned at Mexico’s U.S. border and world airports. Cruise lines avoid Mexico ports.

•Mexico suspends all schools until May 6. In U.S., some schools closed in Illinois, New York City, Texas, California, South Carolina, Connecticut, Minnesota and Ohio; President Barack Obama says more closings may be necessary.

•Mexico City hands out surgical masks, closes public venues and cancels public events. President assumed new powers to isolate infected people. World Bank loaning Mexico more than $200 million.

•Egypt begins slaughtering nation’s roughly 300,000 pigs as precaution.

•World Health Organization alert at Phase 4 of 6, meaning disease spreads easily but isn’t pandemic.

On the Web

World Health Organization

The U.S. now has 91 confirmed cases of the new swine flu in 10 states.

Dr. Richard Besser, the acting chief of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, says thus far only five of those cases needed hospitalization, including a Mexican toddler who became the first death recorded in the U.S., in Texas.

The increase is not surprising. For days, CDC officials have said they expected to confirm more cases — and more severe illnesses — as they intensively hunt down this new virus.

Until now the government had known of outbreaks in just five states. But the new information shows cases in five more: Massachusetts, Michigan, Arizona, Nevada and Indiana.

Health officials said today that a nearly 2-year-old Mexican boy is the first confirmed U.S. death from swine flu.

The child had traveled with family from Mexico City to Matamoros, Mexico, and then to neighboring Brownsville, Texas, said Houston Health and Human Services Spokeswoman Kathy Barton. The boy became ill and was taken to a Houston hospital. He died Monday night, she said.

Health officials did not immediately release more information about the case, but the boy is not believed to be among the six confirmed cases of swine flu in Texas.

Dr. Richard Besser, the acting head of the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, called the confirmation tragic. He said it’s too soon to tell how fast the swine flu virus is spreading.

Besser told NBC’s “Today” show that health authorities had anticipated that the virus would cause deaths, and said that “as a pediatrician and a parent, my heart goes out to the family.”

He said it’s too soon to speculate as to whether the virus would become a nationwide problem, and that he doesn’t believe the flu strain has become more dangerous.

Besser went on to note that even with seasonal flu, there are always some people who can’t resist it very well, and said authorities need to learn more about the threat.

Children, especially those younger than age 5, are particularly vulnerable to flu and its complications, and every year children die from seasonal flu.

According to the CDC, more than 20,000 children younger than age 5 are hospitalized every year because of seasonal flu. In the 2007-08 flu season, the CDC received reports that 86 children nationwide died from flu complications.

As of April 11, CDC had received reports of 53 seasonal flu-related deaths in children during the current seasonal flu season.

Swine flu is suspected of killing more than 150 people in Mexico and sickening over 2,400 there.

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