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LISA MULLINS: I'm Lisa Mullins, and this is The World, a co-production of the BBC World Service, PRI, and WGBH in Boston. US health officials said today that they expect the swine flu virus to spread to all 50 American states. Their prediction comes one day after authorities in Texas confirmed the first death of a US resident infected by the H1N1 virus. Also today, in Mexico, the government increased the number of confirmed swine flu deaths there to 42. At the same time, the government is starting to ease the restrictions on daily life in Mexico -- and some of those who were infected by the virus but recovered are now talking about their experience.
The World's Lorne Matalon spoke to one recovered flu patient in Mexico City.
LORNE MATALON: He says he never felt like he was knocking on death's door, but David Lida knew he was seriously ill.
DAVID LIDA: I felt exhausted. I barely, you know, it was just a great effort to get around. Everything hurt. My limbs, my body.
MATALON: It was mid-April. The goverment hadn't yet announced confirmation of the swine flu virus, but the 49-year-old Lida had heard rumors that otherwise healthy middle-aged people were dying in Mexico City. Some doctors, among them Lida's, knew it wasn't a rumor. The only question was, what was this new flu-like virus that was killing people?
LIDA: I should have gone to the doctor right away. It took me six days and I really suffered.
MATALON: Others, too, were suffering. When he finally saw his doctor, the office was crowded with people complaining of severe flu-like symptoms. Lida was immediately prescribed antibiotics and his condition slowly improved. By then, Mexico and the world knew a new virus, H1N1, had been identified. Now recovered, Lida worries about government claims that the threat has eased. He's also troubled by how much Mexicans still don't know. He's not a casual observer. The New York-born Lida chronicles the culture of Mexico City in his book, â€œFirst Stop in the New World.â€
LIDA: It says a lot that we still do not know who the people are that died of the flu. What other conditions â€“ maybe they had some respiratory problems that we should know about. I think there's a lot of information that has been withheld by the Mexican health system.
MATALON: What the government is doing is flooding the airwaves with medical advice, with President Calderon often reassuring the nation. â€œBecause of the measures we've taken,â€ Mr. Calderon says, â€œwe've at least reduced the spread of the virus.â€ The Mexican capital is come back to life. Some businesses reopened today, as did restaurants and cafes. But conversations are focused on one topic: the epidemic. Lida says the experience made him think of friends and family who have died at other times from other causes.
LIDA: To me, it's a part of life, unfortunately. We're all sort of whistling in the dark one way or another.
MATALON: Lida was lucky. Though painful, his symptoms were not severe enough to require hospitalization. Others seem convinced they do, showing up in droves every day to be tested for H1N1. President Calderon met with representatives of the World Health Organization yesterday, and after the meeting, he told the nation that Mexicans are still at risk. For The World, I'm Lorne Matalon in Mexico City.