Experts Debate Pandemic Potential of Swine Flu

Besser said that U.S. health officials are currently working with their Mexican counterparts to learn more about the strain, but he said there was much more to be done.

"While we are now working with health officials in Mexico, we are very early on in those efforts," he said. "We need more complete lab analyses and better understanding with regard to the number of people experiencing influenza-like illness in Mexico."

He added that the CDC has already sent a team to California to learn more and will likely send a team to Texas as well. Thus far, the CDC has issued no travel restrictions to any of the locales.

Protecting Yourself From Infection

If there is one point on which all infectious disease experts agree, it is that this flu strain should be monitored closely. More importantly, the public should also take on increased hygienic measures to avoid contracting the virus.

The CDC currently recommends that you cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, wash your hands often with soap and water, avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth, and try to avoid close contact with sick people.

The CDC also suggests that if one does contract an illness, they should stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to avoid spreading the infection.

If you develop an illness with fever and respiratory symptoms and you live in or near a region in which the virus has been identified, the CDC recommends that you immediately seek attention from your health care provider to determine whether further influenza testing is needed.

"Good nutrition that promotes host defense and control of any underlying diseases that may make someone high risk ... is also important," said Dr. Len Horovitz, pulmonary specialist at the Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

Those who wish to learn more about the government's actions in response to the swine flu cases can access the CDC's swine flu page online at http://cdc.gov/flu/swine. Alternatively, the CDC has also set up a toll-free information hotline: 1-800-CDC-INFO.

Joanna Schaffhausen contributed to this report./

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