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Spanish swine flu cases continue to rise to 13

MADRID – Spain reported three new cases of swine flu Thursday, bringing the total number confirmed to have contracted the deadly disease to 13.

A further 101 people are suspected of having swine flu, up from 84 on Thursday morning, the health ministry said. It reported 53 suspected cases of swine flu on Wednesday.

Spain confirmed its first case of swine flu on Monday in a 23-year-old man who returned last week from Mexico where he had been studying.

It was the first confirmed swine flu case in Europe and the first outside of the Americas.

The 13 cases now confirmed include one person who had not recently travelled to Mexico and who contracted the disease from his girlfriend who had visited the country.

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

Swine flu is believed to have killed 84 people in Mexico and one person in the United States.

The World Health Organisation on Wednesday raised the swine flu pandemic alert level from phase four to phase five, signalling that a pandemic is "imminent."

Deputy Prime Minister Maria Teresa de la Vega appealed to Spaniards not to panic and said the government has stepped up checks at airports in response to the WHO move, especially those with a large number of connections to Mexico.

"The situation is the way it is but we have sufficient resources so that there is no need for people to be alarmed," she told a news conference.

"The determination of the WHO to raise the alert level means the adoption of stronger control measures at airports."

AFP / Expatica