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ENGLEMED HEALTH NEWS

Swine flu sparks health emergency

Mon April 27th, 2009

A public health emergency was declared in North America last night as the deadly new swine flu virus spread through the USA.

Cases of infection were confirmed as far afield as New York, Kansas and Ohio as well as Texas and California on the borders of Mexico, where the outbreak started.

The outbreak has alarmed public health officials as swine flu does not normally infect humans.

20 cases have been confirmed in the USA and other cases in Mexico and Canada.

There are thought to have been up to 81 deaths in Mexico.

The World Health Organisation's emergency committee met on Saturday and said the outbreak was a "public health emergency of international concern".

The infections have been caused by an influenza A (H1N1) virus.

The British Health Protection Agency warned of the need for "vigilance" following the outbreak.

A spokesman said the flu was treatable with existing anti-flu drugs and said there were no travel restrictions.

He said travellers should follow good practice for preventing infection by washing hands and using tissues when sneezing or coughing.

The spokesman said: "More investigation and testing is needed to determine the severity of the disease and the ease with which it can spread. These investigations are currently under way by Mexican and US authorities with the support of the World Health Organisation (WHO)."

Discuss this report here

Tags: Flu & Viruses | World Health | North America | Travel | UK News

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