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Texas reports second H1N1 flu death

Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano speaks during a news conference on the H1N1 flu outbreak May 4, 2009. (UPI Photo/Kevin Dietsch)
Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano speaks during a news conference on the H1N1 flu outbreak May 4, 2009. (UPI Photo/Kevin Dietsch) | License Photo

GENEVA, Switzerland, May 5 (UPI) -- The second confirmed U.S. death of H1N1 flu was reported in Texas Tuesday as the government modified recommendations for closing schools with suspected cases.

The victim was a woman in her 30s from Cameron County, Texas's southernmost county, with chronic health issues who died this week, the Texas Department of State Health Services said.

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The first H1N1 flu, or swine flu, death was a child from Mexico visiting relatives in Texas.

Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta said in a news release it was modifying its position on closing schools to mitigate the spread of the virus.

Instead of closing schools or childcare centers, the CDC recommends keeping students, faculty and staff with flu symptoms out of schools and childcare facilities when they are potentially infectious to others.

"More specifically, at this time, CDC recommends the primary means to reduce spread of influenza in schools focus on early identification of ill students and staff, staying home when ill, and good cough and hand hygiene etiquette," the CDC said.

Since the outbreak started last week, more than 430 schools closed, affecting about 245,000 children, the U.S. Education Department said.

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The CDC reported 403 confirmed cases and one death from 38 states. The center's total didn't include the second Texas death.

Worldwide, the World Health Organization in Geneva, Switzerland, said 21 countries officially reported 1,490 cases of the H1N1 infection. Mexico, initially believed to be the outbreak's epicenter, reported 822 lab-confirmed cases of infection, including 29 deaths.

Mexican officials, citing improvement in their battle against the virus, said government offices and restaurants would resume business Wednesday, and museums, libraries and churches would open Thursday.

However, WHO and CDC officials said they would monitor developments in the Southern Hemisphere, where flu season arrives during the next few months as winter begins.

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