The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization are reiterating that the new, hybrid form of North American flu (H1N1) involves solely human-to-human transmission, and that there is no connection to this new virus and contact with swine.

The Paris-based World Organization for Animal Health, known as the OIE, says that current information does not suggest that the outbreak observed mainly in Mexico, and to a lesser extent in the United States, was preceded by an outbreak of swine influenza in pigs.

The OIE adds that scientific investigations currently underway should reveal within a few days if the unique virus circulating in humans is capable of infecting animal species such as pigs, chickens and horses.

The OIE repeats that it is not correct to call the current disease “swine influenza.” The virus that is circulating includes human, bird and pig genetic segments. Calling this virus North American influenza uses the same approach to nomenclature as used with the Asian influenza and Spanish influenza outbreaks that have occurred previously.

The OIE again stresses since there has been no case of infection in animals confirmed in the regions where human cases of this flu have been detected, there is no need to impose trade restrictions of swine or pork products, nor to consider that consumers of pork products are at risk of infection.

The CDC has also reported that the first U.S. death from North American influenza has been confirmed in a 23-month-old toddler from Texas.

CDC officials indicated that it does not appear that the flu strain has become more serious. Children, especially those under 5 years of age, are particularly vulnerable to flu and every year children die from seasonal flu. In the 2007-2008 flu season, the CDC received reports that 86 children nationwide died from flu complications and so far this year there have been reports of 53 seasonal flu-related deaths in children.