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Swine flu cases in South Africa now total 75

By Zinhle Mapumulo | Jul 14, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

SWINE flu has now infected at least 75 people in South Africa, with 39 cases in Gauteng, the worst affected province.

SWINE flu has now infected at least 75 people in South Africa, with 39 cases in Gauteng, the worst affected province.

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), which has been monitoring the new form of flu, believes more cases have not been identified.

"The number of confirmed cases does not represent the actual number of people infected by the H1N1 flu. We believe that more people have swine flu but have not been diagnosed," said Barry Schoub of the NICD.

More cases have been confirmed every day since June 11, when the first patient in South Africa was diagnosed with H1N1. The situation was aggravated a little more than a week ago when 16 students at the University of Johannesburg for a squash tournament were confirmed to have swine flu.

Schoub said none of the cases in South Africa had been severe.

"Only two people had complications because of pneumonia, but they are recovering well now. We are expecting more people to come into contact with the virus as it is the flu season. Fortunately, no fatalities have been reported."

The H1N1 pandemic strain has been diagnosed in more than 95000 people around the world since it was discovered in Mexico in April.

About 450 people have died.

The fever was declared a global pandemic early this month. Only 10 countries in Africa have been affected by the virus. Egypt has the most cases, 78 confirmed cases a week ago, followed closely by South Africa.

"One of the reasons why swine flu is spreading is that it is a new virus that people have no immunity to," Frew Benson, a manager at the health department, said yesterday,

"Increased global travelling has also been identified as a contributing factor to the rapid spread of the pandemic. We will stop counting the number of cases once we reach 100. The government will then intensify characterising the virus and what impact it has on people who are 'high risk', like those who have chronic illnesses."


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