The number of confirmed H1N1 flu cases in Japan has risen to 96, a health ministry official said on Monday, with most of new cases seen in high school students in western Japan, many of whom have not travelled abroad.
Over 80 high school students in Hyogo and Osaka prefectures were confirmed to be infected with the new flu virus, Keiichiro Suemasa, a health ministry official said.
The ministry has called for the suspension of classes at all middle and high schools in Hyogo, where 53 cases were confirmed, as well as neighbouring Osaka, where 39 cases were confirmed, Suemasa said.
The figure includes four cases that Japan confirmed earlier this month among people that returned from abroad.
The ministry has not received information on anyone being critically ill from the H1N1 flu, Suemasa said.
The World Health Organisation said last week that it is closely monitoring the situation in Japan after three students from the same high school who have not travelled abroad came down with the H1N1 flu.
More than 35 countries have confirmed cases of the virus, and some 60 people have died in Mexico of the new flu strain, which last month prompted the World Health Organization to raise its global pandemic alert level to 5 on a 6-point scale.