WHO calls new strain of H1N1 “Mexican flu”
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that the most recent research on swine flu has shown that the virus is not caused by pigs. The disease is now being referred to as Mexican flu or “2009 H1N1 flu”. The WHO has moved the pandemic alert from four to five, the second highest. The first case of what was called swine flu was reported in Mexico and its first fatality was confirmed there two weeks ago.
The 23-month-old infant who died in the US state of Texas, in the first fatal case from the swine flu outbreak in the United States, was also Mexican. The child came from Mexico to Houston for medical treatment, officials said.
In Europe, new cases of swine flu have been confirmed in five countries. Germany has officially reported three cases, Austria one and Croatia has confirmed some people are infected with the virus. Earlier, Great Britain and Spain had reported cases of swine flu but some new cases have since been officially diagnosed.
There are multiple cases in Mexico and the United States; diagnoses have also been made in Canada, Costa Rica, New Zealand, and Israel. All those found to be suffering from the virus have recently been to Mexico. After further testing, Mexico lowered the official number of those killed by the virus from 20 to seven.
France says it will ask the European Union to ban all flights to Mexico in an attempt to prevent the virus from spreading. Brussels say that the European Commission does not have the authority to implement such a ban. Transport Commissioner Antonie Tajani said the EU should wait for the outcome of the health ministers’ meeting in Luxembourg on Thursday before taking action that “would create panic … detrimental to the economy and tourism”.
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