Number of US Swine Flu Cases Rises, CDC Reports

Public health emergency is prompting travel restrictions, national distribution of antiviral drugs
By Rick Ansorge
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, April 28 (HealthDay News) -- At least 40 cases of swine flu have been confirmed in the United States, prompting a wide range of governmental actions to counter what could become a worldwide pandemic, according to Richard Besser, M.D., acting director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

At a press conference on April 27, Besser said that 20 new cases have been confirmed in New York City, all of them associated with a previously identified school outbreak. Although swine flu has been confirmed in only five states, including New York, Ohio, Kansas, Texas and California -- resulting in only one hospitalization -- Besser said he expects the outbreak to spread to additional states and cause more severe disease.

In response to what the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has declared a public health emergency, Besser announced that the federal government has begun distributing yellow cards at all U.S. ports of entry to inform travelers about the outbreak and how to respond if they develop symptoms of swine flu. He also said that the CDC will issue a new travel advisory for Mexico -- where severe disease has been reported -- and begin distributing 11 million courses of antiviral drugs from the strategic national stockpile.

"There's no single action that will control an outbreak, but the combined actions that we are proposing, and [that are] being undertaken around the country, will help to stem the tide of any infectious disease outbreak and this one in particular," Besser said.

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