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Flu deaths in Mexico rise to 64, total infections 2,565
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08:26, May 15, 2009

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Mexico's Health Minister Jose Angel Cordova Villalobos said on Thursday that the government had confirmed four more deaths from the new strain of A/H1N1 flu virus, acknowledging that there is a possibility of several very similar flu mutations now circulating.

The country's total confirmed deaths related to the new flu have risen to 64, with 2,565 total confirmed infections.

"There have only been opinions and there is no proof yet that there has been a mutation," said Cordova. "But there has been a suggestion that one mutation caused the more serious cases and another caused the cases that are less serious. Both would be within the same family of viruses," he added.

Some individuals confirmed as having the virus suffered severe headaches, muscular pain, breathing difficulties and high body temperatures and faced death if not treated swiftly with oseltamivir, the antiviral medicine also known as Tamiflu.

However, some others have suffered very mild or even no symptoms, and have recovered without prescription drugs. The most famous case of the latter was Edgar Hernandez, a five-year-old boy who suffered the first confirmed case of A/H1N1 flu, but recovered using only sore throat and temperature medicine.

Cordova said he would meet with the nation's Finance Minister Augustin Carstens on Friday to discuss proposals for a flu compensation fund, possibly backed by the World Bank or the Inter-American Development Bank.

In an outbreak, "the nation that gives the most information is the nation that suffers most," Cordova told a press conference. "Without international support, nations with disease outbreaks are punished for their honesty," he argued.

At the same press conference, David Karam, head of state-run health service the Mexican Social Security Agency (IMSS), said that 86 IMSS workers had been infected with the new flu in their work, and that 15 of them had been hospitalized. All of them have now recovered, he added.

Earlier on Thursday, the World Health Organization said that there have been 6,497 cases of the new flu across 33 countries and regions. The nation with the most cases is the United States, with 3,352 confirmed cases and three deaths. Costa Rica and Canada have one confirmed flu death each.


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