Global Swine Flu Deaths Jump By More Than 1,000
The global number of swine flu deaths has jumped by more than 1,000 in a week, according to the latest figures from the World Health Organization.
According to the BBC, at least 7,826 people are now known to have died following infection with the H1N1 virus since it first emerged in Mexico in April. The greatest weekly percent increase occurred in Europe which was up from 350 deaths per week to 650.
There is growing concern over the discovery of mutated strains of the H1N1 virus. “This mutation could increase the ability of the virus to affect the respiratory tracts and, in particular, the lung tissue,” said a statement from the French Health Surveillance Institute.
Keiji Fukuda, the WHO’s special adviser on pandemic influenza said that he was not sure if there is a fundamental change going on in viruses out there.
“If every mutation is reported out there it would be like reporting changes in the weather,” he said.
“What we’re trying to do when we see reports of mutations is to identify if these mutations are leading to any kinds of changes in the clinical picture – do they cause more severe or less severe disease?
The BBC reported that many countries have stopped counting individual cases of swine flu, particularly of milder illness, and the case count is likely to be significantly lower than the actual number of cases that have occurred.