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Swine flu 'likely' in New York, says official

Eight New York schoolchildren may have caught swine flu, the city's top health official said on Saturday. The World Health Organisation has termed the outbreak of the disease a "public health event of international concern".

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Reuters - Tests have confirmed that eight New York City schoolchildren had a type A influenza virus, likely swine flu, city Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Frieden said on Saturday.

Samples have been sent to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for further testing to see if they are indeed the unusual H1N1 flu strain that has killed up to 68 people in Mexico and may have sickened others, Frieden told a news conference.

"In every single case, illness was mild. Many of the children are feeling better," Frieden said.

"What is concerning about this is that it is likely swine flu and second that it is spreading person to person," Frieden said. He added, "We have seen no increase citywide in flu-like cases."

About 100 students at a school in the New York City borough of Queens became sick last week, prompting the tests, according to local media reports.

A quick throat swab test can tell if a person has influenza but further testing is usually required to determine the strain.

The World Health Organization has declared the swine flu outbreaks in Mexico and the United States a "public health event of international concern," but says more information is needed before raising the pandemic threat level.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed eight people from California and Texas were infected with the H1N1 strain, but all had recovered.

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