MSNBC: After officials confirmed the death of a 23-month-old child in Texas from the new strain of swine flu on Wednesday, President Obama said schools should consider closing if the spread worsens. The toddler is the first fatality from the condition reported outside Mexico.
Dr. Richard Besser, acting director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, confirmed the fatality during an interview with NBC News.
Besser told NBC's TODAY show that he didn't believe "this indicates any change in the strain of the flu."
Sixty-six infections had been reported in the United States before the report of the toddler's death in Texas.
"Even though we've been expecting this, it is very, very sad," Besser added. "As a pediatrician and a parent, my heart goes out to the family."
Besser said authorities essentially are still "trying to learn more about this strain of the flu."
"It's very important that people take their concern and channel it into action," Besser said, adding that "it is crucial that people understand what they need to do if symptoms appear.
Besser went on to note that even with seasonal flu, there are always some people who can't resist it very well, and said authorities need to learn more about the threat.
The world has no vaccine to prevent infection but U.S. health officials aim to have a key ingredient for one ready in early May, the big step that vaccine manufacturers are awaiting.
But even if the World Health Organization ordered up emergency vaccine supplies -- and that decision hasn't been made yet -- it would take at least two more months to produce the initial shots needed for human safety testing.
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