Swine Flu cases on the rise … President Barack Obama said Monday that the outbreak was a “cause for concern” but not a “cause for alarm.” He said the federal government was “closely monitoring” emerging cases and had declared a public health emergency as a “precautionary tool” to ensure the availability of adequate resources to combat the spread of the virus. Israel and New Zealand, where 22 students and three teachers were quarantined after returning for a three-week trip to Mexico, are also investigating suspected cases. South Korea says it will test travelers arriving from the US Swine flu is a contagious respiratory disease that usually affects pigs. It is caused by a type-A influenza virus. The current strain is a new variation of an H1N1 virus, which is a mix of human and animal versions. When the flu spreads person-to-person, instead of from animals to humans, it can continue to mutate, making it harder to treat or fight off because people have no natural immunity. The symptoms are similar to common flu. They include fever, lethargy, lack of appetite, coughing, runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. The virus spreads when an infected person coughs or sneezes around another person. People can become infected by touching something with the flu virus on it and then touching their mouth, nose or eyes. In 1968, a “Hong Kong” flu pandemic killed about 1 million people worldwide. And in 1918, a “Spanish” flu pandemic killed as many as 100 million people.