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WHO Raises Pandemic Level

More frightening swine flu news: At an emergency meeting today, the World Health Organization upped its pandemic alert level to Phase 4 from Phase 3—the first time the level has been above 3 since the system was adopted, in 2003. The designation doesn’t make a pandemic a foregone conclusion; it signifies that a “new virus can cause sustained outbreaks and is adapting itself to spread among humans,” ABC reports. In New York City, 20 additional cases of swine flu have been confirmed at a prep school, with 117 sick kids left to be tested and 42 cases in the U.S. in total. Mayor Michael Bloomberg cautions that the health of all the students is improving: “So far, we are not seeing a situation comparable to that being reported in Mexico.” South of the border, 150 are confirmed dead, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is announcing a new travel advisory for Americans visiting Mexico.