Swine flu confirmed in Kansas, likely in NYC

According to US health authorities, at least 10 Americans have been diagnosed with swine flu in the states of California, New York and Kansas. The World Health Organisation has termed the outbreak of the disease of "international concern".


AFP - Health authorities in the central US state of Kansas confirmed two cases of swine flu on Saturday, bringing the total number of cases in the United States to at least ten.

The Kansas Department of Health and Environment said two adults were confirmed to be carrying the virus. One of the victims was still ill, while the other had recovered.

"Both persons ... became ill with the same unique (H1N1) strain of swine flu that has been identified in Mexico, California and Texas," the statement read.

It is the latest confirmed case of the flu which has killed as many as 68 people in Mexico.

In the United States, six other cases have been identified in California and two more in Texas.

"One of the patients had recently traveled to Mexico," a statement from the department said.

Kansas officials said they are interviewing and testing people who came into contact with the pair, who lived at the same residence.

"We are working closely with health agencies at all levels and are continuing to monitor these cases. We are taking this situation very seriously," said Jason Eberhart-Phillips, the state health officer.

Earlier on Saturday New York officials said eight to nine students at a New York City school were suspected of having swine flu, although those cases have not yet been confirmed.

Tests were ordered after dozens of students from the St. Francis preparatory school in Queens showed flu-like symptoms on Thursday, New York Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden said.

Results of tests to confirm the presence of the virus in the United States' largest city will not be known until Sunday, when a statement is expected.

"We are concerned by more widespread transmission," said Frieden.

"The city is very well prepared, the hospitals are prepared, we are even prepared for the worst cases," he added.

US federal authorities have warned they expect to find more cases in the United States.

"With infections in many different communities as we're seeing, we don't think that containment is feasible," said Anne Schuchat of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Symptoms of the disease are similar to seasonal flu, with high temperatures accompanying body aches and a sore throat.

Prior to this outbreak, the United States had seen 12 cases of the human form of swine influenza since 2005.

Speaking at an International Monetary Fund meeting in Washington on Saturday, Mexican Finance Minister Agustin Carstens said his government was working to fight the outbreak, which the World Health Organization has warned has "pandemic potential."

"It is difficult just now to say how long this will last" Carstens said of the outbreak.

"We hope that it can be contained and that it will not be significant," he said.

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