22 Madrid schools now hit by swine flu

12th June 2009, Comments 0 comments

The number of children infected with swine flu has risen to 139 in the past 12 days.

Madrid – Spain said on Thursday that the number of schools in the Madrid region hit by swine flu has reached 22, with 139 children infected, as the World Health Organisation in Geneva declared a pandemic.

The children are among 488 people confirmed to have contracted the A(H1N1) virus throughout the country, the health ministry reported.

Most of the children infected in Madrid are at the Isaac Albeniz secondary school in the suburban town of Leganes.

Local authorities said on 1 June they believe the outbreak began with a girl at the school who apparently picked up the disease during a visit to the United States.

Since then, other schools in the town and in the capital itself have confirmed cases of the disease.

The total is up from 18 schools and 122 children reported by the ministry on Wednesday.

Health Minister Trinidad Jimenez also appealed for "calm" after the WHO said the crisis has escalated into the world's first influenza pandemic in 40 years, infecting tens of thousands of people in 74 countries.

As a result of the WHO's decision, she said the health ministry will focus on trying to contain the pandemic.

But she recommended against closing schools and other public places that have been hit by the virus.

Spain was the first European country to confirm a case of the A(H1N1) virus, and is second only to Britain in the total number of cases in the continent.

AFP / Expatica

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