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Archive for May 3rd, 2009

Swine flu in decline: Mexico

AFP
Published: Sunday May 3, 2009

Mexico said its swine flu epidemic had peaked and was now in decline Sunday as a diplomatic storm brewed over China’s decision to quarantine dozens of Mexicans who have shown no signs of infection.

US health authorities said swine flu was now present in more than half of its states while Colombia became the 19th country to verify a case on its soil.

But although the latest tranche of figures worldwide underpinned fears of a spread of the disease, Mexico, at the epicentre of the outbreak, expressed confidence that the worst was now over.

The epidemic “is in its phase of decline. The national peak was between April 23 and 28,” Health Minister Jose Angel Cordova told reporters.

The number of confirmed deaths from the virus was unchanged from late Saturday at 19, while the number of confirmed infected cases had risen by 33 to 487, he added.

Containment measures, including the public’s wearing of face masks and regular hand-washing, had been effective in limiting the flu’s spread, said Cordova.

But it was important “not to lower one’s guard,” he said.

Health authorities in the US, the only other country where a patient has died of the virus, said that swine flu was now present in 30 states with 226 confirmed infections in 30 states.

But Secretary for Health and Human Services Kathleen Sibelius saw grounds to be “cautiously optimistic”, saying the “situation seems to be lessening.”

In Spain, the number of confirmed swine flu cases rose to 40, double the previous number, Madrid’s health ministry announced, but added that only six victims were still being treated in hospital.

The number of swine flu sufferers in Britain meanwhile rose to 18 as a man who had returned from the United States and two schoolchildren tested positive, health authorities said.

In China, Mexico’s ambassador complained that Mexicans were being treated unfairly after learning that about 50 were being held in isolation across the country.

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