49 confirmed swine flu cases in the EU: Officials

May 3rd, 2009 - 4:36 pm ICT by IANS  

Stockholm/Geneva, May 3 (DPA) The number of confirmed cases of swine flu in the European Union has now risen to 49, spread over about half a dozen countries, EU health officials reported Sunday.
The EU’s centre for disease control (ECDC) in Stockholm said ten new confirmed cases had been reported in Germany, Spain, Ireland and Italy, in addition to nine new suspected cases in Britain and Portugal.

The EU swine flu cases are among the worldwide confirmed tally of 780, including 476 in Mexico where the virus was first detected.

On Saturday, the World Health Organisation in Geneva rejected an assertion by the US disease control authority that the mutated swine flu virus influenza A/H1N1 did not appear to have the same deadly power as the Spanish flu virus of 1918-19 which killed over 25 million people.

WHO director Michael Ryan, in countering this assertion, said that “these viruses are very unpredictable” and that it could still turn out that the swine flu could develop into a pandemic.

Ryan said that the WHO still had to assume that alarm level 6 - that of a pandemic - would be reached. At the moment, WHO has an alert status of 5.

“We have to suspect that phase 6 is reached but we have to hope that it is not reached,” he said, while also noting, “at this stage it would be unwise to suggest or to say it was spreading in an uncontrolled fashion”.

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