Tuesday, April 28, 2009
April 28 (Bloomberg) — The number of confirmed cases of swine flu in the U.S. jumped to 64, as global health officials monitored New York City as a second possible epicenter for the international outbreak.
The virus has taken its biggest hold in four states in Mexico, the only country in which deaths have been recorded. The U.K., Israel, Canada, New Zealand and Spain have also confirmed cases. The World Health Organization said it’s watching New York to see whether the virus has become rooted in another country, a finding that would boost the agency’s pandemic alert system.
At least five states have confirmed outbreaks, including New York with 45, California with 10, Texas 6, Kansas 2, and Ohio 1, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on its Web site today. The U.S. can expect to see hospitalizations and deaths, and businesses and schools should plan for a pandemic, said Richard Besser, the acting head of the Atlanta-based agency. Yesterday, the agency reported there were 40 cases in the U.S.
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“We’re in a pre-pandemic phase and it’s going to be hard to know until we’re much further along what this is going to progress to,” Besser said in an interview today. “Given the case in Mexico, where we’re seeing much more severe disease, I would expect we’re going to find hospitalized individuals and, unfortunately, I expect we will see deaths in this country.”
New York Cases Tracked
The WHO raised its global pandemic alert yesterday, saying the disease is no longer containable and it’s time to prepare for outbreaks. It’s the first time the level has been raised to a 4 since the measure was adopted in 2005. It’s been at level 3 since 2007, when it was elevated for an outbreak of avian flu.
The biggest concern is whether the virus is spreading efficiently outside Mexico, said Keiji Fukuda, the WHO’s assistant director-general for health security and environment on a conference call with reporters today. The confirmed New York cases have been limited to a private school in Queens.
This article was posted: Tuesday, April 28, 2009 at 1:57 pm