- Title: MEXICO: Mexico H1N1 flu death toll rises to 58
- Date: 15th May 2009
- Summary: MEXICO CITY, MEXICO (MAY 12, 2009) (REUTERS) VARIOUS OF PEOPLE COMING OUT OF METRO STATION/ WALKING DOWN STREET
- Embargoed: 30th May 2009 13:00
- Location: Mexico
- Country: Mexico
- Topics: Health
- Reuters ID: LVA55RGY597U1I5E020RIB7IR4L4
- Story Text: Mexico says the death toll from the Influenza A H1N1 virus has increased and now stands at 58. Mexico, the epicenter of the epidemic, previously reported 56 deaths from the new flu, a genetic mixture of swine, bird and human viruses.
The death toll in Mexico from the H1N1 flu outbreak that has spread globally has risen to 58, the Health Ministry said on Tuesday (May 12), as results of tests on people who died in recent weeks came in.
"We have 58 deaths, we have processed 8,211 tests with 7,451 useful tests," Mexico's Health Minister Jose Angel Cordova told a news conference.
Cordova said that new H1N1 flu cases were being reported in the northern Mexican state of Sonora which borders the U.S. state of Arizona.
"And finally in the case of the United States, the number of cases has increased. Yesterday, the health minister from Sonora told a member of the health cabinet they were seeing cases which had originated in Arizona. So now there have been some cases which come ... There is a lot of traffic on the border so they are also coming from there to here," said Cordova.
A total of 2,282 people in Mexico caught the new flu, a genetic mixture of swine, bird and human viruses, compared to 2,600 cases in the United States.
Mexico is the epicenter of the flu outbreak that has spread to dozens of countries worldwide, mostly through travelers who have visited Mexico.
On Tuesday's Mexico City morning commute, fewer people were wearing surgical face masks, which have been almost obligatory in the city over the past few weeks.
"I think people have relaxed too much, they have become over confident. I still see a serious problem. Personally I still use a face mask but there are many who just don't use them anymore and I think that's strange," said Gabriela, a resident of Mexico City.
Others said they were simply not wearing surgical masks because they were difficult to get hold of and because they were uncomfortable.
"In the first place there aren't any face masks left. I'm not wearing one because I haven't been able to get one from the pharmacy. On the other hand it is quite uncomfortable and it's also very hot to wear one. But at work we do have to use one. In fact I have one set aside which I don't want to use but I don't want to get it dirty because you are supposed to change it every two hours and they don't give us face masks at work and there are none left at the pharmacy," said Rebecca Millan, who was on her way to work in the capital.
The new virus appears to be more easily spread than seasonal flu.
Regular seasonal flu kills about 250,000 to 500,000 people annually with a fatality rate of less than 0.1 percent.
Outside Mexico, nearly all cases of illness and all deaths have been in people with underlying chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease, asthma and diabetes, according to WHO which has consulted widely with experts in affected countries.
In Mexico and the United States -- the two largest and best documented outbreaks to date -- a younger age group has been affected than during seasonal epidemics of influenza, it said.
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