Saturday, May 9, 2009

H1N1 Flu Kills Canadian, First Cases Seen in Japan & Australia

Via Reuters -

The new H1N1 flu killed its first patient in Canada, making it the third country after Mexico and the United States to report a death from the virus that has made more than 3,400 people in 28 countries ill.

The chief medical officer in the Canadian province of Alberta said on Friday that the woman in her 30s who died on April 28 had not traveled to Mexico, the epicentre of the swine flu outbreak, which suggests a more sustained spread of the infection.

Japan and Australia confirmed their first cases on Saturday, although there have been no deaths in either country.

The Canadian woman's death raised the confirmed global toll from the virus to 48. The virus is a strange coupling between a triple-hybrid virus with pig, human and bird elements and a European swine virus not seen before in North America.

Alberta was also where a herd of pigs became infected with the H1N1 swine flu, apparently infected by a man who had traveled to Mexico.

The World Health Organization kept its global pandemic alert at 5 out of 6 because the new virus was not spreading rapidly outside North America, where U.S. officials expect it to spread to all 50 states.

Japan said its first three confirmed cases were a man in his 40s and two teenagers who had spent time in Canada.

Australia's first case was a 28-year-old woman who returned on a flight from Los Angeles on Thursday.

Health officials said the woman had shown flu symptoms while traveling in the United States in April but she had since recovered. Passengers on the same flight were being contacted.

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