The death of a 23-month-old child in Texas is the first U.S. swine flu fatality, federal health officials announced Wednesday.
At the White House, President Barack Obama addressed the rising health issue.
''This is obviously a serious situation'' and ''we are closely and continuously monitoring'' it, Obama said. He said schools with confirmed cases of swine flu should consider closing.
Dr. Richard Besser, acting chief of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said in a nationally broadcast network interview that it's too soon to say if the toddler's death in Texas suggests the virus is spreading to more states. Nor would he say whether officials think it will become a nationwide problem.
Besser said on NBC's Today show that he didn't believe ``this indicates any change in the strain of the flu.''
The U.S. had 91 confirmed cases of the new swine flu in 10 states on Wednesday. Until now the government had known of outbreaks in just five states. But the information released on Wednesday shows cases in five more: Massachusetts, Michigan, Arizona, Nevada and Indiana.
None of the confirmed cases was in Florida, and the number of U.S. cases remains small compared with the outbreak's epicenter, Mexico, where about 160 people are reported to have died from the new, highly contagious viral strain.
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