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Mexico forecasts 1 million winter swine flu infections

The Mexican government has forecast that influenza A (H1N1) cases in the country will soar to 1 million in winter 2009.

world Updated: Aug 30, 2009 09:32 IST

The Mexican government has forecast that influenza A (H1N1) cases in the country will soar to 1 million in winter 2009.

Health Secretary Jose Angel Cordova said on Friday that the swine flu virus epidemic is currently stabilised with an average number of daily infections between 80 and 100 nationwide.

Cordova said that authorities are preparing a complementary national plan to deal with that emergency that includes such measures as closing schools, suspending certain activities and getting hospitals fully prepared.

On April 23, the authorities decreed a health alert after confirming the presence of the new flu virus that was previously unknown, and ordered schools to be closed.

Federal and capital authorities also suspended for two weeks all academic, sports, cultural and entertainment activities, as well as closing restaurants and other businesses.

During the first 15 days of the epidemic, the Mexican capital was the city most affected in many of its sectors, chiefly that of tourism, to the extent that hotel occupation fell by 5 percent.

As the epidemic spread in Mexico, almost simultaneously cases began to occur in the US and Canada.

The Mexican government is currently in talks for the purchase of 30 million vaccinations to meet the resurgence of swine flu predicted for the coming winter season, between December and February.

Health authorities are awaiting the preparation of vaccine in China, for the purpose of buying an additional amount of that preventive medicine.

Mexico recently applied to the World Bank for a $400 million loan for the purchase of vaccines against the AH1N1 flu virus.

The authorities have also promoted training courses for 200,000 doctors so they can begin treating the epidemic from the start of the cold weather.

According to the latest World Health Organisation figures, there have been more than 209,000 confirmed cases of swine flu worldwide and 2,185 people have died.

In the WHO's latest weekly update, the Americas continue to account for the vast majority of confirmed swine-flu cases (110,000) and deaths (1,876).

Brazil leads the world in flu virus deaths with 577, followed by the US and Argentina.