New-flu death toll equals avian-flu deaths: WHO | world | Hindustan Times
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New-flu death toll equals avian-flu deaths: WHO

The World Health Organisation has said total deaths around the world from the new H1N1 influenza has equalled the record-high annual death toll from avian flu registered in 2006.

world Updated: May 20, 2009 11:56 IST

The World Health Organisation has said total deaths around the world from the new H1N1 influenza has equalled the record-high annual death toll from avian flu registered in 2006.

The deaths from new strain of influenza A have mounted quickly since the spread of the disease in Mexico was first confirmed in late April.

"Even though the new flu is less virulent than strains that caused past pandemics, it could inflict major damage on human health since it is highly contagious," said Nahoko Shindo, a WHO medical officer.

As of last Friday, a total of 424 people had contracted avian flu since 2003 and 261 of them have died. The deaths were concentrated in Asia, with 115 confirmed in Indonesia, 56 in Vietnam and 25 in China.

Forty countries had officially reported 9,830 new-flu infections as of yesterday, including 79 deaths, according to the WHO.