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H1N1 FLU: The latest developments around the world

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Death toll: 168 in Mexico, most of them suspected cases. One confirmed in U.S., a 23-month-old boy from Mexico who died in Texas.

 

Confirmed cases in Canada: 34 (eight in Nova Scotia, eight in Ontario, 11 in B.C., six in Alberta, one in Quebec)

 

Mexico cases: 2,955 suspected and 99 confirmed.

 

Confirmed cases elsewhere: 131 in U.S., including 50 in New York, 26 in Texas, 16 in California, 10 in South Carolina, two each in Kansas and Massachusetts, and one each in Indiana, Ohio, Arizona, Michigan and Nevada. State officials confirm five in New Jersey, three in Maine, two in Colorado and one in Michigan. There are also 13 cases in Spain; eight in Britain; three in Germany and in New Zealand; two in Israel; one each in Switzerland, Austria and the Netherlands.

 

World Health Organization alert level: Phase 5 -- Human-to-human spread of the virus into at least two countries in one WHO region, a strong signal that a pandemic is imminent and that the time to finalize the organization, communication and implementation of the planned mitigation measures is short.

 

The WHO says it will stop using the term "swine flu" to avoid confusion over the danger posed by pigs. It will instead refer to the virus by its scientific name, "H1N1 influenza A."

 

The WHO increases its tally of confirmed H1N1 flu cases around the world to 257 from 148. Says there's no epidemiological reason on Thursday to consider raising global pandemic alert to highest level, Phase 6.

 

The U.S. administration comes out against closing the U.S.-Mexico border. Vice-President Joe Biden says it would be "a monumental undertaking" with limited benefit.

 

Public health emergency declared in the United States and roughly 12 million doses of Tamiflu from federal stockpile to be delivered to states.

 

Several hundred schools closed in the U.S.: at least 200 in Texas and 62 in Alabama, plus scattered closings in New York, California, South Carolina, Connecticut, Minnesota, Illinois, Wisconsin, Arizona, Ohio, Utah, Washington state, Michigan and Maine.

 

Symptoms: Fever, lethargy, lack of appetite and coughing; some report runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

 

Transmission: Believed to occur through coughing or sneezing, or touching contaminated surfaces before touching mouth or nose.

 

Misconceptions: The biggest is the role of pork -- the CDC says people cannot get the flu by eating pork or pork products.

 

Advice: Health officials urge those with flu-like symptoms to avoid work or school, wash hands, cough into sleeves and get medical attention.

 

-- The Canadian Press, with files from The Associated Press

 

 

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 1, 2009 A4

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