The number of confirmed cases of swine flu in the U.S. has risen to 65, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state health officials. Federal and state health officials said the number of cases is sure to rise, but noted that the severity of disease in the U.S. has not increased, with five hospitalizations and no confirmed deaths.
The World Health Organization has raised the worldwide pandemic threat level to Phase 4, indicating that the virus is transmitted person-to-person and is now able to cause community-level outbreaks.
I fully expect we will see deaths in this country, said Richard Besser, acting director of the CDC. I would say I'm very concerned. We're dealing with a new strain of influenza.
The new swine flu virus is the probable cause of 153 deaths in Mexico, and more countries are reporting confirmed cases, including Britain, Canada, New Zealand and Spain, according to the WHO. Congress opened hearings on the federal response to the swine flu threat Tuesday, focusing on $870 million in pandemic emergency preparedness funding that was dropped from President Barack Obamas $787 billion economic stimulus bill earlier this year. -- by Rebecca Vesely