April 29, 2009 / 12:30 PM / 10 years ago

Obama: time for "utmost" precautions on swine flu

A girl returning from South Korea wears a medical mask at Taoyuan International Airport, northern Taiwan, April 29, 2009. REUTERS/Nicky Loh

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama said on Wednesday that the first U.S. death from a new strain of swine flu showed it was time to take “utmost precautions” against its possible spread.

“We are closely and continuously monitoring the emergent cases of this virus throughout the United States,” Obama said in remarks at the White House before leaving on a one-day trip to Missouri.

“This is obviously a serious situation. Serious enough to take the utmost precautions,” Obama said.

He urged state and local health authorities to be vigilant in detecting and reporting possible new cases and asked schools to consider closing if they have confirmed or suspected cases of the virus.

U.S. officials said on Wednesday that a 23-month-old Texas child had died from the H1N1 virus, the first confirmed death outside Mexico. U.S. officials have confirmed 65 cases of swine flu, most of them mild.

Reporting by Andrew Quinn; editing by Will Dunham

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