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KOBE — The number of domestic swine flu cases reached 140 in Hyogo and Osaka as of Monday evening, prompting fears of an epidemic and leading to calls from the two governors to shut down all schools in the prefectures and for the central government to do more.

Including the four cases confirmed early this month, in which three high school students and a teacher returned from Canada to Narita airport with the H1N1 virus, a total of 144 people have so far been infected with the new flu.

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