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US Designates $1.8 Billion for Swine Flu Prevention


President Obama announced his move Thursday in a letter to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi. Mr. Obama said the funds are to be used for vaccine ingredients, planning immunization campaigns, and helping get vaccines approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

Earlier Thursday, the World Health Organization said the pandemic is the fastest-moving outbreak ever, having spread as far in six weeks as most viruses do in six months. The WHO said there is no longer a need to count every new case of the flu.

But the WHO said the outbreak has been characterized by mild symptoms and that most patients recover without medical care. It recommended continued close monitoring of outbreaks for unusual clinical patterns.

Sudan on Thursday reported its first two cases of swine flu. Health officials said the patients were returning from a trip to Britain and are recovering.

And Australia's health minister said as many as 6,000 Australians could die from swine flu without vaccines and anti-viral drugs. Nicola Roxon said the government is planning a vaccination program in October to prevent that scenario from happening.

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



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