With 41 Sick, US Moves 'As If' Flu Is 'Full Pandemic'

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 27, 2009 4:29 PM CDT
Janet Napolitano, left, talks to Richard Gibbs, center, as Dr. Richard Besser, right, Acting Director Center for Disease Control and Prevention speaks on Sunday, April 26, 2009 in Washington.   (Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
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(Newser) – With up to 41 people sickened by swine flu in five states and 149 dead in Mexico, the Obama administration is treating the outbreak like a full pandemic, the AP reports. Officials warned Americans against traveling to Mexico—where more than 1,600 have been infected—and sent flu-fighting medications to US states. "We are proceeding as if we are preparatory to a full pandemic," said Homeland Security chief Janet Napolitano.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization has raised its pandemic alert level from three to four, indicating human-to-human infections in one country or more. Level six would indicate a full pandemic, an epidemic across a wider area. In New York, where 45 high school students were recently infected with swine flu, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said more than 100 cases will likely be confirmed after testing, Reuters reports.