France only west European nation where swine flu rising
The A(H1N1) virus has passed its peak in North America but continues to increase in parts of central and southeastern Europe as well as in south and east Asia.Geneva -- France remains the only western European nation where swine flu is rising as the pandemic sweeps eastwards in patches across the northern hemisphere, the World Health Organisation said Friday.
The A(H1N1) virus has passed its peak in North America, but continues to increase in parts of central and southeastern Europe as well as in south and east Asia, the WHO said in its weekly update.
"With the exception of France, where influenza-like activity continues to increase, influenza-like activity has peaked or passed its peak in much of western Europe," it added.
However, the WHO described the impact on the French health care system as "moderate."
The global swine flu death toll increased by 828 in a week to at least 9,596, as the growth in mortality slowed for the second consecutive week, WHO data showed.
Across the northern hemisphere, the virus was reported to be stable in southern China and increasing again in Hong Kong and Taiwan after an earlier peak, despite declines in northern China and Mongolia.
The WHO said the patterns of hospitalisation and deaths due to swine flu had followed largely the same pattern in the United States and Canada as in the southern hemisphere during their winter.
After five weeks of decline in recorded transmission of swine flu in the United States, the death rate due to pneumonia and flu has also started to decline there for the first time in eight weeks, the WHO said.
In Europe, increasing flu activity was observed in the Baltic states, the Balkans, Albania, the Czech Republic, Greece and Hungary, while activity declined in Bulgaria, Georgia and Ukraine.
Swine flu may also have peaked in Russia, while the pattern was variable across central and western Asia, with signs of a peak being reached in Afghanistan, Israel and Oman.