Saturday, February 20, 2010

Global swine flu death toll creeps towards 16,000: WHO

GENEVA — The global death toll from swine flu approached the 16,000 mark as the pandemic waned in much of Europe and Asia, the World Health Organisation said Friday.

"As of 14 February 2010, worldwide more than 212 countries and overseas territories or communities have reported laboratory confirmed cases of pandemic influenza H1N1 2009, including at least 15,921 deaths," the WHO said in its latest update.

The toll recorded since the A(H1N1) pandemic virus was first uncovered in Mexico and the United States last April grew by 629 compared to the previous week.

Several countries in West Africa reported increases in cases after swine flu was recently detected there, but the WHO concluded there was insufficient evidence so far that swine flu was spreading widely in local communities.

"In the temperate zone of the northern hemisphere, overall pandemic influenza activity continued to decline in most countries," despite pockets of activity, the WHO said.

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