Germany confirms three cases of swine flu
All three cases had recently returned from Mexico, the epicentre of the outbreak, where the H1N1 virus is suspected of having killed more than 150 people and infected more than 1,300 others.Berlin -- German authorities said Wednesday that three people who returned recently from Mexico were infected with swine flu in the biggest European country to be hit by the increasingly global outbreak.
The Robert Koch Institute, responsible for disease control and prevention, said a 22-year-old woman was in hospital in Hamburg and a 37-year-old woman and a man about the same age were being treated separately in Bavaria.
All three had recently returned from Mexico, the epicentre of the outbreak where the H1N1 virus is suspected of having killed more than 150 people and infected more than 1,300 others.
All three are in a stable condition and getting better, authorities and doctors said, but German Health Minister Ulla Schmidt stressed that this "does not mean that we should underestimate this flu."
There are also two other suspected cases in other parts of Germany, she said. Four other patients suffering from flu-like symptoms tested negative, however.
"Nobody knows what might happen in the next few hours," Schmidt told reporters.
The 37-year-old female patient was quarantined and treated at her home in Kulmbach after complaining of "light flu-like symptoms" when she returned from Mexico, said Andreas Zapf, head of the Bavarian health institute.
"Today she has no more symptoms and has very good prospects," Zapf said.
The man, from the southern Bavarian city of Regensburg and also suffering from another illness, was treated with antiviral drug Tamiflu and no longer has a fever and is "much better," Zapf said.
In Hamburg, the 22-year-old woman was "stable and not seriously ill," a doctor at University Clinic Hamburg-Eppendorf told a news conference in the northern city.
"We have to be careful when it comes to predictions but at the current time we can say there is no reason to believe there will be serious or even life-threatening complications," Gerd Burchard said.
"There is no need for panic but there are reasons to be vigilant," Bavarian Health Minister Markus Soeder said.
The United States on Wednesday became the second country to confirm a death from the virus, that of a 23-month-old child in Texas. Mexico has had seven confirmed deaths.