German nurse contracts swine flu from patient ad

2nd May 2009, Comments 0 comments

Germany's other four confirmed cases were found in people who had recently been to Mexico, the epicentre of the outbreak.

Berlin -- Germany confirmed on Friday the second case of swine flu contracted in Europe by someone who had not travelled to Mexico, in a nurse who treated a patient with the virus.

The nurse in Bavaria, who has not been in Mexico recently, has now recovered from what the World Health Organisation (WHO) now calls influenze A(H1N1), the German health ministry said.

Germany's other four confirmed cases -- a fourth also being confirmed on Friday -- are in people who had recently been to Mexico, the epicentre of the outbreak.

"This is the first time in Germany that a infection has taken place within Germany," said Joerg Hacker, head of Germany's disease control and prevention agency, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI).

"Until now this has been reported in Mexico, the United States and also in one case in Spain," Hacker told a news conference. "We have to prepare ourselves for this can occur. It is in the nature of this virus."

"We are not surprised that this has happened but of course we are concerned because it is the first time ... We must expect that there could be further cases of contraction like this in Germany."

He added that in Germany there were seven other suspected cases being investigated. He did not say if these seven had returned recently from Mexico. Five others have tested negative.

Later Friday a spokeswoman for the RKI said that a fifth infection had been confirmed, in a man in Bavaria who had recently returned from Mexico. Reports said he was in his mid-20s and was no longer ill.

Spain's 13 confirmed cases also include one person who had not recently travelled to Mexico and contracted the disease from his girlfriend, who had visited the country.

The Spanish government said Wednesday it was the first such case of human-to-human transmission of the disease in Spain.

Mexico has confirmed 12 deaths and 300 infections from the swine flu, a new flu strain that combines bird, swine and human influenza, but officials there have said the rapid course of the H1N1 virus could be slowing.

The WHO has warned that a global pandemic may be imminent. Its latest data on Friday showed 331 confirmed cases of infection in 11 countries. The only fatality outside Mexico is in the United States.

Germany's other three confirmed cases all include people who had just returned from Mexico: a 22-year-old woman from Hamburg and a 37-year-old woman and a man about the same age, both in Bavaria.

Hacker said on Friday that all three had "mild" symptoms resulting from the virus, similar to cases reported in the United States and Canada.


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