Related News

Home » World

Swine flu hits 3 more countries

THE swine flu virus spread to more countries yesterday as scientists estimated the new strain could have sickened 23,000 people in Mexico alone before anyone realized it was an epidemic.

Thailand and Finland reported their first confirmed swine cases yesterday in people just arrived from Mexico. Cuba also reported its first confirmed case.

Cuba identified its patient as a Mexican student attending a Cuban medical school.

Mexican Health Secretary Jose Cordova said his nation's closure of schools - which was lifted in most of the country on Monday - had averted an avalanche of cases.

"It would have been difficult for us to have controlled this epidemic," Cordova said in a statement, adding that Mexico had 58 deaths and 2,282 confirmed cases of swine flu.

At least 63 people have been killed by swine flu around the world, and the World Health Organization has confirmed 5,495 cases.

Cuba's Health Ministry said a group of medical students from Mexico began arriving on the island to resume their studies on April 25 - four days before Cubans halted airline flights from Mexico. Fourteen of the students suffered from flu-like symptoms.

A study published on Monday in the journal Science estimated Mexico alone may have had 23,000 cases of swine flu by April 23, the day it announced the epidemic. The study estimates swine flu kills between 0.4 percent and 1.4 percent of its victims, but lead author Neil Ferguson of Imperial College, London, said the data remain incomplete.

Seasonal flu kills about 250,000 to 500,000 people annually with a fatality rate of less than 0.1 percent.

The analysis in Science suggests there are many more cases than those confirmed by laboratories - anywhere from 6,000 to 32,000 cases in Mexico as of April 23. The flu has since spread around the world. The study said it appears to be substantially more contagious than normal, seasonal flu.

Researchers also compared the genetic sequences of the viruses in 23 cases, and came up with an estimate of January 12 for their earliest common ancestor - presumably when person-to-person transmission began. But they said it could have been anywhere from November 3 to March 2.

The researchers said the 2009 H1N1 flu appears to be about equal in severity to the flu of 1957 and less severe than the deadly 1918 version.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend