Official: Swine Flu in 'Declining Phase' in Mexico

Staff Report
The Associated Press

MEXICO CITY (AP) - Mexico's health secretary says the swine flu epidemic in his country "is now in its declining phase."

There are more than 500 confirmed cases in Mexico, including the 19 people who've died from the virus. Mexico's Health Secretary Jose Angel Cordova says it appears the virus peaked in Mexico about a week ago and that the nation's efforts to cut off the flu's spread seem to have worked. Mexico shuttered schools, closed most of its businesses and banned mass public gatherings.

Still, the virus is hopscotching across the globe, with the total number of confirmed cases now approaching 1,000. Colombia has reported South America's first confirmed case and there are more cases in Europe and North America.

The U.S. has now had more than 244 confirmed cases in 34 states. But officials say the jump is largely from catching up with the backlog in lab tests, not a surge in new infections.

Pig farmers rioted in Egypt Sunday protesting the government's decision to slaughter all swine as a precaution even though scientists say the flu is not spread through pork.