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Mexico cuts suspected flu death toll to 101 from 176

MEXICO said yesterday that health experts now estimate the number of deaths in the country caused by a new strain of H1N1 flu at as many as 101, down from an earlier figure of up to 176.

Health Minister Jose Angel Cordova said laboratory tests on samples from some of the people who died from abnormally virulent fevers in recent weeks have come back negative for the new flu virus. He said 16 deaths have been confirmed as caused by the new swine flu and tests are still being run on samples from the other 85 victims.

Cordova told a news conference that out of 159 files on suspected flu victims, tests showed that 58 had died of other causes and so could be eliminated from the total.

Mexico has released a confusing soup of flu victim data in recent days but is now voicing hope it may be getting control of a flu outbreak that has sparked fears of a pandemic.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also said the flu outbreak may not be as severe as it first looked, citing many mild cases that were not immediately noticed.

In all, Cordova said Mexico is now counting 397 total cases of confirmed H1N1 flu, of which 381 sufferers have either fully recovered or are being treated with anti-viral drugs.


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