10 May 2009

Australia confirms first swine flu case

9:33 am on 10 May 2009

A woman has tested positive to swine flu, in Australia's first confirmed case of the illness.

Queensland's chief medical officer, Jeannette Young, says the woman, from New South Wales, had flown into Brisbane from Los Angeles on Thursday.

Dr Young said the woman had tested "weak positive" to the human swine flu influenza and made a full recovery.

Some 567 people have been tested for the H1N1 virus in Australia and 544 have been cleared. Eighteen people are still awaiting test results.

Canada reports first swine flu death

A woman from the Canadian province of Alberta has died of swine flu, the first Canadian fatality attributed to the virus.

The province's chief medical officer, Dr Andre Corriveau, said the woman was in her thirties and had not traveled to Mexico, the center of the flu outbreak.

The woman, who died on 28 April, had a number of unspecified pre-existing medical conditions. Officials tested for the presence of the virus after a family member who attended her funeral contracted a mild case of the disease.

Alberta has reported 42 cases of the H1N1 virus, most of which have been mild.

Mexico, which has been at the center of the outbreak, has reported 45 deaths from the virus while the United States has reported two deaths from the disease.

US health authorities reported on Friday the number of confirmed cases had risen sharply from 896 to 1,364 but gave reassurances that the epidemic was not speeding up.

The jump had been expected as a backlog of lab tests were confirmed.

Britain has confirmed five new cases, all connected with a school in southeast London, bringing the total in the country to 39.

The World Health Organisation said on Friday it was keeping its global pandemic alert at level 5 out of 6, given the H1N1 flu strain has not yet gained momentum outside the Americas.