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Saturday 21st April 2018

Confirmed flu cases rise in US

12th May 2009

Health officials in the United States say they have now confirmed 2,532 cases of swine flu after a spike in numbers in the past few days.

hand sanitizer and mask

The number jumped by about 600 since Friday and now puts the US ahead of Mexico as the country most affected by the virus.

Death rates are far lower however, with just three deaths confirmed from swine flu compared with 48 south of the border.

The outbreak in Mexico led to the temporary closure of non-essential sectors of the economy, and of schools for two weeks.

This was followed over the weekend by a mass disinfection campaign. Schools have reopened in some areas, while other states are keeping them closed as more suspected cases are reported.

The shutdown was ordered by the government in a bid to control the outbreak, which began in Mexico but spread to 4,300 cases in 30 countries.

Mexico has a total of 1,626 confirmed cases.

China reported its first confirmed case of bird flu on Monday.

The disease in the US has so far been mostly mild in character. The most recent death, of a man in his thirties with a heart condition, was reported on Saturday.

But the virus has yet to run its course, according to health officials.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warned that more cases, more hospitalisations and more deaths would occur in the days and weeks to come from swine flu.

The sudden spike in confirmed cases may be due to a new test kit developed by CDC and rolled out across the US and Puerto Rico, as well as to other countries.

CDC said the increase in testing capacity would probably result in higher numbers of reported confirmed cases in the US.

This should provide a more accurate picture of the burden of disease from swine flu, it said.

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