Published: Wednesday June 3, 2009 MYT 12:21:00 PM
A (H1N1): Six more deaths in Mexico
MEXICO CITY: Mexico has confirmed six more deaths from the A (H1N1) virus bringing the total death toll to 103 nationwide.
The Health Department says 5,563 people have been sickened across Mexico, including those who died. The department released the new figures Tuesday. Mexico says its epidemic has largely subsided, but the confirmed toll has been rising as scientists test a backlog of samples from patients.
Worldwide, the disease has reached 64 countries and infected 18,965 people, causing 117 deaths.
In Honduras, the confirmed number of sickened jumped from two to 34 as new tests results came in Tuesday. Honduran Health Secretary Carlos Aguilar said the ages of the patients range from 15 and 35. Most have recovered.
In HONG KONG, an eight -year-old boy living in Puerto Rico and two local men studying in the United States have been confirmed with the virus bringing the Chinese-ruled territory’s cases to 26.
A Hong Kong government statement says the boy, who was visiting relatives in the city, and the two Hong Kongers - a 19-year-old and 20-year-old - developed a cough, fever and headaches. The late Tuesday statement says all three are hospitalised in isolation.
The government says the boy arrived from Puerto Rico via New York City while the two men returned from San Francisco and New York City.
In SANTIAGO, Chile’s health minister has announced South America’s first swine-flu death: that of a 37-year-old Chilean plumber.
Health Minister Alvaro Erazo says Fernando Vera died early Monday in Puerto Montt, 625 miles (1,000 kilometers) south of the capital of Santiago.
Authorities in Chile raised the number of confirmed A (H1N1) virus cases to 360 cases - up from 313 - more than any other country in South America. Erazo announced the death Tuesday.
Vera’s widow Sandra Paredes told Santiago’s Radio Cooperativa that she also is having flu symptoms and will seek medical attention. Vera died of massive respiratory failure.
In GENEVA, the World Health Organisation said Tuesday it is “getting closer” to declaring a global outbreak of the virus as the infection appears to be taking hold outside of North America.
WHO flu chief Keiji Fukuda said the disease has reached 64 countries and infected 18,965 people, causing 117 deaths. The overwhelming majority of cases and deaths have been reported in Mexico and the United States, but increasingly the virus is spreading from person to person in countries as far apart as Britain, Spain, Japan, Chile and Australia.
“We still are waiting for evidence of really widespread community activity in these countries, and so it’s fair to say that they are in transition and are not quite there yet, which is why we are not in phase 6 yet,” Fukuda said.
Phase 6 is the highest alert on WHO’s scale, signalling a pandemic - a global epidemic. In terms of the geographic spread of the flu, the world is “at phase 5 but getting closer to phase 6,” Fukuda said.
WHO is now debating whether to add a second measure that indicates how dangerous the virus is - rather than just how widespread - after several countries raised concerns that declaring a global pandemic could cause mass confusion and panic even though it is still unclear how dangerous the virus will be.
Some nations have already imposed costly trade and travel barriers, “drastic actions” that Fukuda said WHO would seek to prevent. The agency is calling the situation “moderate” rather than “mild” while it waits to see how the outbreak develops.
Some experts have reported patients with symptoms different from those expected in this type of flu and the virus is causing severe infections in healthy, young adults. “So we do have some hesitation in calling such an infection mild,” Fukuda said. “It’s probably fair to call the situation something like moderate right now.” -- AP