Australian swine flu toll now over 300

The World Health Organisation's last update on the outbreak of influenza A(H1N1) - swine flu says as of the 29th of May, 53 countries have officially reported 15,510 cases including 99 deaths and Australian health authorities have confirmed that more than 300 people have been diagnosed with swine flu in Australia and all states and territories are now affected by the virus.

The number of swine flu cases diagnosed in Victoria has now risen to 212, Queensland has reported 20 cases, New South Wales 57, South Australia 7, the ACT 4 and Tasmania, Western Australia and the Northern Territory have one case each.

The latest cases include two children and an adult in Cairns, in Queensland's north but Victoria remains the worse affected - seven schools have been closed in Victoria in attempts to curb the spread of the infection.

Two schools in Cairns have also been shut-down because of swine flu - a 13-year-old girl from St Monica's College and her mother have tested positive for the virus along with another girl at St Mary's - the schools are the first in Queensland to close because of swine flu and health officials are contacting anyone who may have been in close contact with the students - at this stage neither student is thought to have travelled overseas recently. Queensland Health has opened a flu clinic in Cairns and held information meetings for parents.

The school closures are expected to have an impact particularly on senior students many of whom are in the midst of preparations for exams and the impact on tourism, especially in the tropical north of Queensland, could have serious repercussions on an industry already grappling with a world recession - tourism officials say swine flu is impacting on travel worldwide.

Queensland Deputy Premier and Health Minister Paul Lucas says the tourism industry is worth billions to the economy which is why the swine flu issue has been taken very seriously and was why the Pacific Dawn cruise ship was diverted away from the Far North after there were suspicions that swine flu was onboard.

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