The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday confirmed the nation's first swine flu death in the current outbreak, a 23-month-old child in Texas.
The first swine flu death outside of Mexico was confirmed by CDC spokesman Dave Daigle.
The acting head of the CDC called the confirmation tragic, but said it's too soon to say just how fast the swine flu virus is spreading.
Richard Besser, M.D., said in a nationally broadcast network interview that health authorities had anticipated that the virus would cause deaths, and said that "as a pediatrician and a parent, my heart goes out to the family."
But Besser said on NBC's "Today" show that it's too soon to say if the death in Texas suggests the virus is spreading to more states. Nor would he say whether officials think it will become a nationwide problem.
He also said he does not believe the flu strain has become more dangerous.
Besser went on to note that even with seasonal flu, there are always some people who can't resist it very well, and said authorities need to learn more about the threat.