Mexico changes swine flu death toll to seven (Lead)

April 29th, 2009 - 1:30 pm ICT by IANS  

Mexico City, April 29 (DPA) Mexican authorities corrected the number of people killed by swine flu to seven from a previous 20.
At least 159 people have been killed by flu infections in Mexico, Health Minister Jose Angel Cordova said.

On Tuesday, 1,311 people remained hospitalised out of a total of 2,498 suspected cases, he added.

Miguel Angel Lezana, director of the national epidemiological and disease control centre, said late Tuesday that the mutated H1N1 swine flu virus was confirmed to be responsible for seven deaths. The other 13 cases could not be confirmed yet, he said.

Mexican authorities previously put the swine flu death toll at 20. Lezana said additional testing was conducted on recommendation of the the Geneva-based World Health Organisation (WHO).

An infection with the swine flu virus was confirmed in 26 cases.

Mexico Tuesday closed down main tourist sites across the country to try to limit the spread of the virus. Mexico City limited restaurants to takeout orders and deliveries and ordered gyms and pools closed.

Meanwhile, Mexico’s Central American neighbours called for help from the international community to battle the disease. At a meeting of Central American health officials in the Nicaraguan capital of Managua, health ministers said in a letter to the WHO that the region lacked medication in case swine flu spreads.

Governments in Honduras and El Salvador raised their crisis levels while Costa Rica on Tuesday reported two suspected swine flu cases. According to Health Minister Maria Luisa Avila, both the infected patients had returned from Mexico.

Cuba cancelled all flights to and from Mexico for 48 hours.

Despite the potential health crisis, about 14,000 doctors in the Dominican Republic embarked on a four-day strike Tuesday, demanding their pay be more than doubled to about $1,600 per month.

Emergencies and possible swine flu cases are to be exempt from the strike.

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