Swine flu continues to spread in US

The U.S. has experienced the second highest rate of swine flu infection with 66 confirmed cases as of Wednesday morning. The virus has reached New York, Kansas, Ohio, Texas, Indiana and California. According to the CDC, most of those infected have experienced only mild symptoms and treated successfully. However, five individuals have been hospitalized due to infection and on Wednesday, officials confirmed the death of a 23-month old toddler in Texas, Bloomberg reports.

Currently, about 45 of those known to be infected are connected to the St. Francis Preparatory School in the Queens burrough of New York City, whose students had recently visited Mexico. New York health officials suspect that many more students, staff and family members throughout the city are infected with the virus as hundreds of students have called in sick or become ill at school.

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency Tuesday after two deaths were suspected to be linked to swine flu. The first state to confirm cases of swine flu, the number of infected in California has now risen to 11. The Governor's move will help speed the state's response to the outbreak.

According to CDC Acting Chief Richard Besser, officials expect the virus to continue to spread and cause more hospitalizations and deaths. He's urging businesses and schools to plan for that possibility. "We're in a pre-pandemic phase and it's going to be hard to know until we're much further along what this is going to progress to," Besser said. On Tuesday, President Obama asked Congress for $1.5 billion to fight the spread of the virus.

- here's more from the NY Times here and here
- get more from Bloomberg here and here