Monday, May 18, 2009

WHO confirms 1,893 human A/H1N1 cases worldwide

GENEVA, (Xinhua) -- The World Health Organization (WHO) yesterday confirmed a total of 1,893 human infection cases of the A/H1N1 flu virus from 23 countries, including 31 deaths.

Mexico, the epicenter of the outbreak, has reported 942 laboratory-confirmed human cases of infection, including 29 deaths. The United States has reported 642 laboratory-confirmed human cases, including two deaths, the UN agency said in a latest update.

The following governments have reported laboratory-confirmed cases with no deaths: Austria (1), Canada (165), Hong Kong, China (1), Colombia (1), Costa Rica (1), Denmark (1), El Salvador (2), France (5), Germany (9), Guatemala (1), Ireland (1), Israel (4), Italy (5), the Netherlands (1), New Zealand (5), Portugal (1), the Republic of Korea (2), Spain (73), Sweden (1), Switzerland (1) and Britain (28).

Meanwhile, a WHO official said yesterday that an expert committee of the agency would meet next week to discuss issues related to the production of A/H1N1 vaccine.

The committee is expected to give advice to the WHO on whether the time has come for drug makers such as GlaxoSmithKline and Novartis to start large-scale manufacturing of the vaccine, Marie- Paule Kieny, WHO director of the Initiative for Vaccine Research, told a news briefing in Geneva.

Kieny added that WHO Director-general Margaret Chan and UN Secretary-general Ban Ki-moon would also meet with heads of a number of companies manufacturing vaccines on May 19, to "ensure more equitable access for developing countries to this vaccine when it is available.

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