By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
BUCHAREST, Romania — A top Romanian health official has resigned after saying 20,000 people could die of swine flu in the country.
Health state secretary Adrian Streinu-Cercel quit Tuesday, a day after sounding the alarm on the potential spread of the epidemic. Presidential adviser Virgil Paunescu did not dispute the 20,000 figure but said it had induced "a futile sense of panic."
Paunescu told Realitatea TV that Streinu-Cercel "should no longer appear in public, because he causes panic."
President Traian Basescu has called a meeting of the country's top defence body for later Tuesday to discuss the impact of swine flu. Romania has 581 registered cases of swine flu.