Swine flu cases climb in Mexico, probe expanding

MEXICO CITY (AP) -- Health officials say at least 16 people -- and possibly more -- have died from a swine flu virus in Mexico.

Mexican health officials say more than 900 other people are sick. Mexico City officials are closing schools today in hopes of containing the outbreak, while tougher measures are considered. Mexicans are also being asked to refrain from traditional greetings such as shaking hands or kissing cheeks.

The World Health Organization counts about 57 deaths in Mexico. The group says it isn't clear what flu the people died from, but a spokesman says officials are " very, very concerned."

He adds that the virus appears to be "novel" and can spread from from human to human.

Scientists are trying to learn if the deaths involve the same new strain of swine flu that has sickened seven people in Texas and California. That outbreak combines pig, bird and human viruses in a way that researchers have not seen before.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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