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Swine Flu Pandemic ‘Imminent’ as Virus Thrives in North America
April 30 (Bloomberg) -- The world is on the verge of the first influenza pandemic since 1968 after a new swine flu took root in Mexico, the U.S. and seven other countries.
The World Health Organization raised its six-tier alert to 5, the second-highest, and said a pandemic declaration may come soon. It urged countries to make final preparations to deal with a virus that may sweep across the globe.
Mexico, where the toll is highest, said 159 people may have died from the flu, with seven confirmed by laboratory tests. Ninety-four cases were reported in 11 U.S. states, and New York City officials said they suspected hundreds were infected. French Health Minister Roselyne Bachelot told reporters she would ask European transport ministers to suspend flights to Mexico. Egypt ordered the slaughter of as many as 400,000 pigs.