US distributing antiviral drugs
US health officials said Thursday they have begun distributing antiviral drugs to battle an outbreak of swine flu as the number of confirmed US cases rose to 111 in 13 states.
"The distribution has already begun," interim director for public health at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Anne Schuchat told US lawmakers.
"The US government has purchased extensive supplies of antiviral drugs -- oseltamir (Tamiflu) and zanamivir (Relenza) -- for the strategic national stockpile," she added.
"Laboratory testing on the viruses so far indicates that they are susceptible to the drug we have in our stockpile."
The US administration Monday vowed to release some 11 million drug treatments against swine flu, saying that represented some 25 percent of the national stockpile.
Schuchat's comments came as the World Health Organization on Wednesday raised its flu alert to five, on a one-to-six scale, warning a pandemic is imminent.
And WHO chief Margaret Chan also called on all governments to activate their plans to fight a pandemic.