Swine flu claims more than 6,200 lives worldwide

More than 6,200 people worldwide have now died from swine flu, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said today.

The virus has spread to 206 countries and territories and resulted in at least 6,260 deaths.

Most deaths have occurred in the Americas, which has seen 4,512 die since the start of the global pandemic.

South East Asia has witnessed 678 deaths and there have been at least 300 in Europe, including more than 180 in the UK, the latest update showed.

WHO said the virus was showing “early signs of peaking in parts of North America but is intensifying across much of Europe and central and Eastern Asia”.

Canada has reported sharp increases in rates of swine flu, including school outbreaks.

WHO said the virus may have peaked in some areas, including the North of Ireland, compared with previous weeks.

Yesterday, figures for England showed a drop in the estimated number of new cases of swine flu – possibly due to the half-term school break.

There were 64,000 estimated new cases in England last week, down from 84,000 the week before.

Chief medical officer Liam Donaldson said the figures were difficult to interpret because officials said the impact of half-term could last for two weeks.

Next week’s figures should give a fuller picture of how the virus is developing, he said.

The number of swine flu cases tends to be higher when children are in school as they are known to spread the virus easily.

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