Swine flu now in 29 countries and continuing to spread

The latest update (# 24), from the World Health Organisation on influenza A H1N1 (swine flu) says as of the 10th May 2009, 29 countries have now officially reported cases of human infection.

The WHO says there have now been 4,379 reported human cases of swine flu - 1626 in Mexico, including 45, 2,254 in the United States, including two deaths - 280 in Canada, including one death and 8 in Costa Rica, including one death.

The following countries have reported laboratory confirmed cases with no deaths - Argentina (1), Australia (1), Austria (1), Brazil (6), China, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (1), Colombia (1), Denmark (1), El Salvador (2), France (12), Germany (11), Guatemala (1), Ireland (1), Israel (7), Italy (9), Japan (4), Netherlands (3), New Zealand (7), Panama (3), Poland (1), Portugal (1), Republic of Korea (3), Spain (93), Sweden (1), Switzerland (1) and the United Kingdom (39).

The WHO has not recommended travel restrictions related to the outbreak of the influenza A(H1N1) virus but does advise individuals who are ill to delay travel plans - returning travellers who fall ill should seek appropriate medical care.

The WHO says these recommendations are 'prudent measures' which can limit the spread of many communicable diseases, including influenza.

Five new cases of swine flu were reported in Canada on Sunday, bringing the total number of people infected with the virus nationally to 286 and according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the toll there has risen to 2,532 confirmed cases of the new H1N1 swine influenza in 44 states, with three deaths and 104 people in hospital.

Although most cases appear to be mild, just as in seasonal flu the new swine flu strain has for a few been a killer and has now moved into the southern hemisphere, where influenza season is just beginning.

There are fears the new strain could mix with circulating seasonal flu viruses or the H5N1 avian influenza virus to create new, potentially deadly strains.

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