(New throughout, previous HOUSTON)
By Jim Forsyth
SAN ANTONIO, April 27 Texas state health
authorities on Monday confirmed a third case of swine flu that
is threatening to become a pandemic, and closed 14 schools in
an attempt to contain it.
All three confirmed cases involve students at Byron Steele
High School in Guadalupe County near San Antonio, the Texas
Department of State Health Services said.
Two high school students have recovered and the third is
recovering under voluntary isolation at his home in Schertz,
The new virus has killed up to 149 people in Mexico and
there were 40 confirmed U.S. cases, though there are no
confirmed U.S. deaths from the virus that spreads quickly
between humans [nN27539441].
The World Health Organization on Monday raised its pandemic
alert level to phase 4, indicating a significant increased risk
of a pandemic, a global outbreak of a serious disease. It would
be the world's first flu pandemic since 1968.
Elsewhere in Texas, local officials said they were tracking
four possible cases in Nueces County near Corpus Christi and
three probable cases in Dallas.
The Dallas cases "haven't been confirmed to be actual cases
of swine flu, but the symptoms are consistent," said assistant
Dallas County Health Director John Carlo.
"Thankfully, we haven't seen severe cases here, but of
course we have to be ready for that possibility," he said.
In Schertz, Texas, a middle class suburb outside San
Antonio where the three confirmed swine flu cases live,
residents did not show any alarm.
"It doesn't make me nervous, it's only three cases so far,"
said Yvette Sosa, whose daughter attends Byron Steele, one of
14 area schools that authorities closed indefinitely as a
precaution. "I'm not scared yet."
(Editing by Alan Elsner)