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Amid Swine Flu Outbreak, Authorities Intensify Efforts

President Obama urged calm in the face of the widening swine flu outbreak, as dozens of cases of swine flu were reported in the United States. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano describes the government's response.

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    Now two takes on the U.S. government's response, its investigation, and the many questions surrounding the outbreak. Ray Suarez continues our coverage.


    We get the latest now from two key government officials, first, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano.

    Secretary Napolitano, what's the U.S. government telling American citizens about traveling to Mexico?

    JANET NAPOLITANO, secretary of Homeland Security: Well, both the CDC and the State Department have now issued travelers' advisories or alerts for Mexico, meaning they should avoid all nonessential travel.


    What's changed in the last day for the United States to raise its level of warning?


    Basically the amount of knowledge that we have. As I said yesterday at my first press conference on this topic, this is going to be a changing dynamic, and there will be different announcements every day. We want to keep people informed.

    But as we've identified more cases in Mexico, identified and pinned down that they are swine flu, those factors led to the decision to go ahead and issue the travelers' advisory.


    What level of scrutiny is being given to people of any nationality coming to the United States from Mexico?


    We're doing what's called passive surveillance. Basically, it's looking at people to see whether they appear sick, asking them if they're sick, checking their travel history, see where they've been.

    If they are sick, we move them into a separate room, where a public health official can come in and take a look at them, and then make a decision about whether they can come into the country and go get health care or whether, indeed, they need to be returned.


    Are they equipped at an airport or a land crossing to check, do a test whether a person actually has the flu?


    That equipment has been moved to the land ports. At our airports, they have that equipment, as well. We also have, at 19 of our airports, we actually have quarantine facilities. Those 19 facilities cover about 85 percent of air passengers.

    So, yes, and that's part of the preparation that we've been doing. Right now, you know, a lot of cases, but a manageable number of cases, but we don't know if that's going to increase exponentially over the next few days. So our planning has all taken into account different types of scenarios.

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