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Mostly Mild Swine Flu Spreads Across U.S.

With 226 cases in 30 states, the swine flu has spread in the United States with more cases to come, The New York Times reported that federal health officials said Sunday.

"I think it’s circulating all over the U.S.,” said Dr. Anne Schuchat, the interim deputy director for science and public health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in a news conference. “The virus has arrived, I would say, in most of the country now.” (The New York Times)

The good news is that most cases of the swine flu, or H1N1, have been mild, she said. Cases in Mexico seem to be leveling off, health officals there said.

"I don't think we're out of the woods yet," Schuchat said.

However, a concern is that the swine flu has come when the seasonal flu typically ends, so people have little or no resistance to it, she said.

It also appears to have affected young people; the median age is 17. Of 30 people hospitalized in the United States, the higher portion were older children and young adults. It is a big change compared to the seasonal flu, which typically affects the elderly and young children, she said.

Scientists at the C.D.C. were preparing a “seed stock” from virus samples that could be used for a vaccine, she said.

Similar work began several weeks ago to make a vaccine to protect pigs from the H1N1 virus, said Dr. John R. Clifford, the chief veterinary officer for animal health for the Department of Agriculture. The new virus had never been found in pigs in this country, he said, but pigs in Canada have contracted it from a human. This indicates that the animals are susceptible.

“Just like people have flu seasons, so do pigs, normally in fall and winter,” he said.