H1N1 Flu Pandemic Likely, but Mild

May 4, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
A Valley school that closed because of the flu is re-opening, but two others will remain closed.-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
California Department of Public Health Flu Hotline: (888) 865-0564
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There are now 245 flu cases in 34 states in the U.S. In California, there are 29 confirmed cases of the flu and the department of public health is running tests on 130 suspected cases.

An inmate in the imperial county prison has been diagnosed with the virus. Doctors have worried it could spread fast inside the confined quarters of the prison.

Los Angeles County also confirmed its first case, a student at Cal-State University Long Beach.

Parents of elementary school students are advised to check their school district websites for updates on any closures.

Monday, Sunnyside Elementary in Strathmore is planning to re-open, but Mountain View Elementary in Visalia and Woodville Elementary near Porterville are closed.

Schools in Marin, San Bernardino, San Diego, Yolo, and San Joaquin counties are also expected to be closed this week as a precaution.

Health officials warned a pandemic of the H1N1 swine flu is still considered likely; but a mild pandemic.

"I think we have to continue in an uncertain situation to be aggressive. And that's what we're doing," said Dr. Richard Besser with the Centers for Disease Control.

Researchers are continuing to work on a swine flu vaccine, but there are no guarantees. "It's being grown and tested as we speak and ultimately the scientists will tell us whether or not production of that vaccine makes sense," said Kathleen Sebelius, Health and Human Services Secretary.

There are now 245 confirmed cases of H1N1 in 35 states. On Sunday, Americans were taking unusual precautions. At graduations, handshakes were replaced by "elbow rubs" and "shoulder pats ". Some churches also banned the traditional "handshake" during services. "I think they're sensible precautions to take," said Parishioner Marjorie McGovern.

Around the world, fear is still spreading. In china, more than 70 Mexican travelers have been quarantined. Mexican Ambassador Jorge Guajardo said Mexicans are being singled-out and taken away as soon as they arrive. "No other country in the world is implementing this type of actions. Mexicans are being targeted in China just because they have a Mexican passport."

Conditions in Mexico, the epicenter of this outbreak, now appear to be improving. On Sunday, the country's health minister said the epidemic is slowing.

(T.J. Winick, ABCNews, Washington)

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