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Mexico Returning to Normal After Flu Outbreak; Second Fatality in US

By VOA News
06 May 2009

U.S. health officials say a woman in Texas has become the second person outside of neighboring Mexico to die of the swine influenza A-H1N1 virus, while life in Mexico began returning to normal as the outbreak there subsides.

Texas health officials on Tuesday said the woman, who died Monday, was in her 30's and had other chronic health problems. She is the first U.S. citizen to die of the disease, and the second swine flu fatality inside the United States.

A Mexican toddler died in a Texas hospital several days ago.

Mexican schools and businesses that were closed for days because of the outbreak are scheduled to reopen Wednesday, as officials said the disease's spread there appeared to be slowing.

Mexican President Felipe Calderon said Tuesday the situation has stabilized, but he cautioned that people should keep taking steps to prevent spread of the virus, which remains in the population.

Authorities in Mexico say 29 people are now confirmed to have died of the virus in the country.

Meanwhile, a Mexican plane has picked up dozens of Mexicans stranded in China, after Chinese officials quarantined 70 Mexican citizens, fearing they were infected.

President Calderon said China's public health tactics are discriminatory, because none of the quarantined Mexicans exhibited any symptoms of the infection.

China says its strict measures are in the interest of public health, but some critics say the precautions are heavy-handed. Hong Kong's chief executive has apologized for the ongoing, week-long quarantine of hundreds of people at a local hotel where an infected Mexican guest stayed.

About 25 Canadian university students were quarantined for a week in northeastern China, and two U.S. citizens also are in isolation at a hotel in a suburb of Beijing.

The World Health Organization says nearly 1,500 cases of the infection have been confirmed worldwide.

The U.S. Navy on Tuesday said it has canceled the deployment of a U.S. warship to the South Pacific after one of its crew members tested positive for the swine flu virus and about 50 other crew members developed flu-like symptoms.

The USS Dubuque had been scheduled to sail on June 1 for a humanitarian mission delivering medical supplies and other assistance to Kiribati, the Marshall Islands, Samoa, the Solomon Islands and Tonga.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.



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