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WHILE the number of people being diagnosed with swine flu continues to rise steadily around the globe and in South Africa, Dr Pete Vincent of Netcare Travel Clinics maintains that there is still no need to panic as most people who contract the H1N1 virus recover fairly quickly.
Swine flu - medically known as the H1N1 virus - was first recorded in South Africa in June, and the country's first recorded death was that of 22-year-old Stellenbosch University student Ruan Muller last week.
Last night, national Health Department spokesperson Fidel Radebe disputed that a second South African had died of swine flu, saying the 44-year-old Durban man was not a victim of the pandemic.
Radebe said the test results had been inconclusive, and that they could not do further tests because the man has already been buried in line with his religious requirements.
The man from Phoenix died at Mount Edgecombe Hospital last Wednesday.
Vincent said: "Although we have seen fewer confirmed cases of swine flu in our country than in most countries around the world, the number of people infected is gaining momentum."
He said the good news was that the more the virus spreads, the more our understanding of the disease evolves. "Every time a new country is added to the list and as community level spread extends in impacted countries, this information is shared globally and we continue to learn more about this virus.
"The World Health Organisation is placing increasingly more emphasis on monitoring people with the H1N1 virus and is actively reporting trends in the activity of the disease," he said.
WHO's latest bulletin records that as of last month 168 countries had reported swine flu cases, with all continents affected.
At July 31, there were 162380 recorded cases, with Africa's total at 229, but the latest National Institute for Communicable Diseases figure for South Africa, supplied on Monday, was 480.