Swine flu spreading with monsoon
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), H1N1 pandemic flu is spreading in India, Thailand and Vietnam with the onset of Asia's monsoon season.
But transmission of the new virus appears to have peaked in parts of the southern hemisphere including Argentina, Chile, Australia and New Zealand.Some 1,77,457 cases of the novel influenza commonly known as swine flu, including 1,462 deaths, have been officially reported worldwide, but the true number of infections would be much higher.
The spread of the pandemic is being reported in many of the tropical countries and particularly in India, Thailand and Vietnam; because these countries are getting into the monsoon season at this time. The regular influenza season has begun in these countries, coinciding with the monsoon season, and both H1N1 and seasonal flu are being detected.Thailand has reported widespread influenza-like illness and it is increasing. In Vietnam and India there is an increasing trend but it is not yet widespread.
India's health ministry last week confirmed the country's first death from H1N1, a 14-year-old girl.
The H1N1 flu outbreak, declared a pandemic on June 11, has spread around the world since emerging in April and could eventually affect 2 billion people, according to WHO estimates. In temperate areas of the southern hemisphere - Argentina, Chile, Australia and New Zealand - pandemic virus transmission appears to have peaked and is now on the decline in areas previously affected.
Countries are now only obliged to report their first confirmed cases to WHO, which says there is no longer any point in counting each and every case of infection.
Fears that the strain could become resistant to the anti-viral drug Tamiflu have underscored the need to get vaccines to market quickly. The first vaccine is expected to be approved and ready for use next month.
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