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4/30/2009

Flu Pandemic 'imminent'

Global health authorities warned Wednesday that swine flu was threatening to bloom into a pandemic, and the virus spread farther in Europe even as the outbreak appeared to stabilize at its epicenter. A toddler who succumbed in Texas became the first death outside Mexico.

Mexico, taking a drastic step as confirmed swine flu cases doubled to 99, including eight dead, announced it would temporarily suspend all nonessential activity of the federal government and private business from May 1-5.

"It really is all of humanity that is under threat during a pandemic," WHO Director General Margaret Chan said in Geneva. "We do not have all the answers right now, but we will get them."

It was the first time the WHO had declared a Phase 5 outbreak, the second-highest on its threat scale, indicating a pandemic could be imminent.

**FOR CONTINUOUS UPDATES ON THE GLOBAL VIRUS OUTBREAK VISIT SKYWATCH MEDIA NEWS AND ENTERTAINMENT **

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