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A/H1N1 pandemic death toll rises to 12,220, says WHO

2009-12-31 08:18 BJT

Special Report: World tackles A/H1N1 flu |

GENEVA, Dec. 30 (Xinhua) -- The global death toll of the A/H1N1 pandemic influenza has risen to at least 12,220, an increase of over 700 in a week, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in a weekly update on Wednesday.

The death toll in the Americas remains at some 6,670, with no new deaths reported in the past week. But more deaths were recorded in all the other five regions, notably in Europe and the Western Pacific, the UN agency said.

According to the WHO's tally, A/H1N1 pandemic deaths in Europe increased more than 300 from a week ago, reaching at least 2,422, while the number of deaths in the Western Pacific rose to 1,249, from 1,030 last week.

The pandemic death numbers in South-East Asia, East Mediterranean and Affica increased to 1,056, 693 and 130 respectively.

The reported number of fatal cases is an under representation of the actual numbers as many deaths are never tested or recognized as influenza related, the WHO has noted.

The H1N1 flu virus was first identified in North America in April, and the WHO declared the new influenza as a pandemic in June. So far the virus has caused infections in more than 208 countries and overseas territories or communities.

WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan warned on Tuesday that the A/H1N1 pandemic influenza is not over yet and the world needs to continue monitoring the evolution of the disease in 2010.

Although the pandemic has passed its peak in many countries in the northern hemisphere, notably in the United States, Canada and parts of Europe, but "it's too premature, too early for us to say we have come to an end of the pandemic influenza worldwide," Chan told a press conference in Geneva.

She said the WHO and its members states should continue to monitor the evolution of this pandemic for the next six to 12 months, given the fact that flu viruses change constantly and the current "moderate" pandemic could become more fatal.


Editor: Zhang Pengfei | Source: Xinhua