Swine flu deaths reported in Argentina

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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The first deaths from swine flu in Argentina have been reported. To-date there have been a total of four deaths tied to the disease. The first was a baby girl aged three months. According to a report from the government's health ministry, she died in a Buenos Aires hospital, having been there since earlier in June.

Stained electron microscope picture of influenza A virus subtype H1N1
Image: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The Argentinian health ministry announced an additional 89 cases confirmed on Monday, bringing the total in the country to 733. As winter begins in the southern hemisphere, health officials believe that the virus will spread in the area.

He was a very severely immune-depressed patient ... more vulnerable to agents that can cause illnesses.

—Claudio Zin, Health official

The second person to die from the virus in Argentina was a 28-year-old man who had been receiving care after a bone marrow transplant. "He was a very severely immune-depressed patient. When a person gets a transplant, you have to depress his defense system, and so he is more vulnerable to agents that can cause illnesses," said health official Claudio Zin.

There have been a total of four deaths to date tied to the virus in Argentina, however no information has yet been released on the other two deceased patients. According to Carlos Soratti, Vice Minister of Health, 138 newly confirmed cases has brought the total as of Tuesday to 871 in the country. Chile has a recorded 2,335 cases, and Argentina has the second-highest amount of recorded cases in South America.

Last week the World Health Organization announced a declaration that Swine flu has reached the level of a pandemic. According to the WHO, excluding the deaths in Argentina there have been 163 deaths globally attributed to the virus as of Monday. There are approximately 36,000 cases of the virus in 76 countries.

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