HOUSTON – A 23-month-old toddler in Texas became the first confirmed swine flu death outside of Mexico as authorities around the world struggled to contain a growing global health menace that has also swept Germany onto the roster of afflicted nations. Officials say the death was in Houston.
Kathy Barton, a spokeswoman for the Houston Health and Human Services Department, said Wednesday that the child had traveled with family from Mexico to Brownsville in South Texas. The child became ill in Brownsville and was taken to a Houston hospital and died Monday night, she said.
"Even though we've been expecting this, it is very, very sad," Dr. Richard Besser, acting chief of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Wednesday of the infant's death. "As a pediatrician and a parent, my heart goes out to the family."
President Barack Obama said this morning that Americans should know the government is doing all it can to control virus. Obama also says schools should consider closing if the spread of the swine flu virus worsens.
Canada, Austria, New Zealand, Israel, Spain, Britain and Germany also have reported cases of swine flu sickness. Deaths reported so far have been limited to Mexico, and now the U.S.
As the United States grappled with this widening health crisis, Besser went from network to network Wednesday morning to give an update on what the Obama administration is doing. He said authorities essentially are still "trying to learn more about this strain of the flu." His appearances as Germany reported its first cases of swine flu infection, with three victims.