Swine flu keeps spreading worldwide

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Beijing - The A/H1N1 flu continued to spread worldwide on Wednesday as Uruguay and Romania confirmed their first cases of the new flu strain.

Uruguay on Wednesday reported its first cases of A/H1N1 flu in two patients who have recently returned from Argentina. A 24-year-old young man and a 15-year-old girl have been diagnosed as carriers of the virus, said the health authorities.

A 30-year-old woman in Romania, who had returned from the United States (US) with her two children on 23 May, went to the hospital on Tuesday with a fever and was diagnosed with the new virus, said Health Minister Ion Bazac.

Meanwhile, Singapore had confirmed its first A/H1N1 flu case on Wednesday in a 22-year-old woman who reported symptoms after visiting New York.

The woman said she developed a cough on her flight back to Singapore earlier this week, the Singaporean health ministry said in a statement.

Confirmed cases continue to rise for countries with the largest numbers of infections.

The US Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said Wednesday the number of confirmed and probable cases has risen to 7 927 in 48 US states, with 11 deaths.

The CDC anticipates that there will be more cases, more hospitalisations and more deaths associated with this new virus in the coming days and weeks.

In Canada, the total confirmed A/H1N1 flu cases have risen to 1 118, including two deaths, according to the latest figures released by the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) Wednesday.

Compared with Monday figure, 197 new cases were added during the past two days.

Meanwhile, there have been no confirmed cases of swine flu in South Africa. However, the Department of Health is adequately resourced in terms of medication to deal with the pandemic if it reached South Africa.

The department, which had developed the plan in 2007, implemented it in April when the swine flu was first reported in Mexico.

The plan includes the deployment of outbreak response teams at national, provincial and district levels. Teams provide technical support to the health facilities in case of an outbreak and monitor and evaluate overall preparedness, investigation and response.

The department has also stationed three nurses at OR Tambo International Airport to monitor and check passengers landing on international flights. Two screening machines have also been installed to detect swine flu cases.