Swine flu spreading less rapidly in Europe: WHO

May 13th, 2009 - 12:33 am ICT by IANS  

Geneva, May 12 (DPA) The new H1N1 influenza virus is spreading less rapidly in Europe due to greater precautionary measures taken there than in the US or Mexico, Nikki Shindo, a vaccine expert with the World Health Organization (WHO), said Tuesday.
Speaking to journalists in Geneva, Shindo said European countries were far more aggressive in using anti-influenza measures compared to the US or Mexico, resulting in fewer cases in European countries.

She also downplayed worries that the virus could more quickly develop resistance to anti-viral remedies, saying that evidence from recent flu epidemics had shown that aggressive use of anti-influenza medications did not necessarily lead to faster viral resistance.

Earlier Tuesday, the WHO stated that there were 5,251 cases of H1N1 influenza in 30 countries, with 61 deaths.

Mexico had 2,051 infections, including 56 deaths. The US reported 2,600 cases and three deaths and Canada had 330 confirmed instances, with one death. Costa Rica reported one death from eight cases.

Shindo said it was not yet clear why there were so many deaths from the disease in Mexico.

She added, however, that the disease is becoming progressively milder, with infections in Canada reportedly not even accompanied by fever.

This has led to only the severest cases being reported, Shindo said, confirming that the number of actual infections has been widely underreported.

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