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Iceland reports first death from swine flu

Icelandic health officials reported their country's first swine flu death amid a spike in cases on the North Atlantic island.

world Updated: Oct 20, 2009 07:36 IST

Icelandic health officials reported their country's first swine flu death amid a spike in cases on the North Atlantic island.

The victim, an 18-year-old disabled woman, died after falling ill about 11 days ago, Iceland's Directorate of Health said in a statement.

The woman had a pre-existing lung condition which contributed to her death, according to Dr Olafur Baldursson, the director of medicine at Reykjavik's Landspitali University Hospital, where she died.

"The girl had been multiply disabled for a long period of time and suffered from a chronic pulmonary disease," Baldursson told journalists Monday.

Iceland, a county of about 3,00,000 people, has so far seen a total of 479 laboratory-confirmed cases of the virus - many of them occurring in the past two weeks.

Until recently the virus was largely confined to the capital, but swine flu has now spread across the country, resulting in "a huge drop" in school attendance in some rural areas, according to the health directorate.

The directorate added that the virus was adding considerably to the work of the small nation's health care service.

Swine flu, first identified in April, is a global epidemic. The World Health Organisation says there have been nearly 4,00,000 laboratory confirmed cases and over 4,700 deaths linked to the illness.