05/22/2009, 00.00
ASIA
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WHO: almost one thousand new cases of swine flu a day

For now the alarm level will not be raised. The new cases are in Mexico, USA, Canada and Japan. A first case in the Philippines. Virus spreads at slower rate in the southern hemisphere.

Tokyo (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The World Health Organisation has confirmed that swine flu continues to spread at a pace of 1000 new infections per day.  Data as of yesterday is of 11034 infections 85 deaths.  Most of the new cases are reported in Mexico, the epicentre of the contagion (3 new deaths and 244 infections); United States (two deaths and 241 infections); Canada (221 infections); Japan (49 infections). The Philippines has reported its first case, a 10 year old girl, returned from Canada.

Margaret Chan, WHO director general, says the alarm level must remain at 5 (6 is the maximum).  The alarm level indicates that “geographic” way in which A/H1N1 spreads throughout the world, not its severity.  Chan noted that the virus is spreading at a slower pace in the Southern Hemisphere compared to the first three countries where it first broke out (Mexico, United States, and Canada)

The US confirms its suspicion that people over 50 are less affected by the virus compared to younger generations.  This behaviour pattern of H1N1 is contrary to a normal flu, which tends to affect the more elderly.  According to American scientists people over a certain age have acquired immunity to the virus thanks to their exposure to other similar flu viruses.  Daniel Jerningan, chief flu epidemiologist at the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, maintains that from 1918 to 1957, all circulating seasonal type-A flus were weakened descendants of the 1918 Spanish flu, which was an H1N1, as the current swine flu is.

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