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Swine flu deaths climb past 2,800: WHO

by Staff Writers
Geneva (AFP) Sept 4, 2009
The World Health Organisation said Friday that at least 2,837 people had died from swine flu since the new A(H1N1) virus was uncovered in April.

"There are now at least 2,837 deaths attributable to pandemic H1N1," said Gregory Hartl, spokesman for the UN health agency.

The data mark an increase of 652 deaths from the last toll of 2,185 published a week ago.

Hartl said the increase in the number of deaths is due to the overall rise in the number of people who have caught the A(H1N1) virus, and not because of the virus turning more virulent.

"In the sense of the virus having become more severe, no. It is just that the volume of cases is increasing," said Hartl.

The Americas region continues to report the largest number of deaths -- at 2,234.

The Asia-Pacific region reported 467 deaths, while Europe reported at least 104.

In the Middle East, 21 deaths were recorded while in Africa, 11 people succumbed to the infection.

Zimbabwe and Djibouti also reported their first cases of infections, said the WHO.

The UN health agency added that the pandemic virus "continues to be the predominant circulating virus of influenza" in both the northern and southern hemisphere.

According to its flu database, some 61.1 percent of flu specimen cases have been found to be of the pandemic strain.

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