Brazil now has 557 swine flu deaths, making it the country with the highest number of fatalities in the world from the disease, according to figures announced by the health ministry.
The toll puts it ahead of the latest count from the United States, which as of August 20 had 522 swine flu deaths, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Brazil's health ministry yesterday said in a statement the government was freeing up USD one billion to buy 73 million doses of a new vaccine being developed against swine flu, as well as Tamiflu stocks, hospital equipment and diagnostic gear.
It added that the infection rate appeared to be diminishing in the country, which is about to exit the southern hemisphere winter at the end of this month.
The ministry stressed that, as a ratio of its population of 190 million, Brazil's mortality rate from the virus ranked 7th in the world.
Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, Uruguay, Australia and Paraguay all had higher rates on that basis, it said, referring to data from the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control.
The United States, which has a population of 300 million, came 13th on the list.