Updated at: 04/25/2009 10:38 PM
By: Laura Kennedy
lkennedy@wdio.com
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Swine Flu Spreading In The U.S.
 

The swine flu has now surfaced in four states. Health officials believe it's already widespread, and will be nearly impossible to contain.

"I think over the next month, maybe in as short as two weeks, we are going to find cases pop up throughout the world," said Dr. Michael Osterholm, a swine flu expert from the University of Minnesota.

The virus combines genes from pigs, birds and humans. Health experts say it is spreading from person to person. But one Northlander thinks talk of a global pandemic could be premature.

"I don't think it's any more concerning to me than any of the other pandemics that were coming," said Russ Salzbrun of Zimmerman. "It just seems like another thing that could be blown out of proportion. It's hard to know. Could be real, but maybe not."

But more cases are being reported each day, and that has others feeling a bit anxious.

"I guess pandemics are never something I'm interested in," said Steve LaFollette of Minneapolis. "It's killing people? Okay yeah, that's something I think we should look into. Whether it's crossing the border or not, I think it's something we should definitely be concerned about."

No cases have been found in Minnesota or Wisconsin. But if you've recently traveled to or come in contact with someone from Mexico or one of the states affected, you should be extra cautious.

Health officials in both states are monitoring all reported flu-like symptoms closely.

"We're going a more thorough job of looking for possible human cases of swine flu," said Buddy Ferguson from the Minnesota Department of Health.

But until experts figure out where the virus is coming from and how it's being transmitted, they can only speculate about whether or not a pandemic is possible.

"We need to make people aware of the truth, and the truth is, we don't know what's going to happen."

Swine flu symptoms are similar to other flu viruses. Health officials urge anyone who develops a sudden fever, congestion or cough to see a doctor.