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Two more countries confirm A/H1N1 flu cases
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13:49, May 16, 2009

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Two more countries in Latin America and Asia on Friday reported their first confirmed A/H1N1 flu cases as the World Health Organization (WHO) warned of further spread of the virus.

Ecuadorian health authorities reported on Friday the first case of influenza A/H1N1 in a 12-year-old boy.

The boy had traveled to Miami, the United States, to have a surgery, said Ecuadorian Vice Health Minister Ricardo Canizarez.

On the same day, Malaysia confirmed its first A/H1N1 flu case involving a student who had just returned from the United States.

Mexico, which is responsible for most of the deaths caused by the A/H1N1 strain, Thursday raised the death roll of the virus to 66 from previously reported 64. Its confirmed cases of the virus also surged to 2,895.

The impacts of the virus are waning in Mexico despite recent increases in deaths and infections, said Health Minister Jose Angel Cordova.

Cordova said that from 61 of the 66 deaths were patients who developed symptoms before April 23, when an alert was declared.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Thursday shifted to a mixed reporting of confirmed and probable human A/H1N1 cases as most probable cases end up being confirmed.

The number of confirmed and probable cases was 4,714 Friday, as compared with the 4,298 recorded for Thursday, said the CDC.

The U.S. state of Texas reported its third A/H1N1 flu death in a 33- year-old man on Friday, after the deadly virus killed a Texas woman and a Mexico toddler who was visiting relatives in the state.

The latest fatality in Texas brought the country's number of H1N1 deaths to five.

Meanwhile, 12 students at an elementary school in Houston, Texas, were diagnosed with A/ H1N1 flu Friday, and local officials suspected it might be the largest cluster of the new influenza virus in Texas.

Officials decided to close Travis Elementary School after the confirmation.

In Britain, four patients were confirmed on Friday by the Department of Health with A/H1N1 flu, bringing the country's total number of the infected to 82.

All four cases are children in the London region, and are all linked to previously confirmed cases, said a statement from the Department of Health.

On Friday, Alan Johnson, Secretary of State for Health, announced agreements between the British government and vaccine manufacturers to secure supplies of up to 90 million doses of pre-pandemic H1N1 vaccine before a pandemic begins.

"The UK's arrangements are continuing to ensure that we are well-placed to deal with this new infection," said the statement.

Confirmed cases in Canada rose to 496 Friday, with 47 new cases added during the day, according to the latest figures from the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC).

The spread of the A/H1N1 flu virus is expected to continue and the severity of the current disease patterns could change in unforeseen ways, WHO Chief Margaret Chan said Friday.

"This virus has quickly demonstrated its capacity to spread easily from one person to another, to spread widely within an affected country, and to spread rapidly to additional countries," Chan said.

"We expect this pattern of international spread to continue," she said at an intergovernmental meeting of WHO member states.

Chan said she took it as her personal responsibility to keep the world informed about the flu outbreak and to adjust WHO recommendations as the situation evolves.

According to the latest WHO figure, the H1N1 virus, which was first identified in Mexico, so far has infected 7,520 people in 34 countries and regions. The figure does not include Ecuador, Malaysia and Peru.

Source: Xinhua

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