Spain records 25th death from swine flu

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The latest victim is a 28-year-old woman who died from complications from the disease.

Madrid – Spain has recorded its 25th death from swine flu, officials said Sunday, as the World Health Organisation warned northern hemisphere nations may see a sharp increase in cases over the coming months.

Spain's latest victim of the A(H1N1) virus was a 28-year-old woman who died Saturday from complications from the disease at a hospital in Ceuta, a Spanish enclave on the Moroccan coast, local health officials said.

It was the first death from the virus in the densely populated enclave of about 20 square kilometres (12.5 square miles) located some 50 kilometres east of Tangiers.

WHO chief Margaret Chan warned Saturday in an interview published in a Spanish newspaper that swine flu "will strike the northern hemisphere hard" as cold weather returns to the region.

"It will expand at a dizzying pace until it reaches peak transmission, probably at the end of the year. The number of cases could double every three or four days," she told XLSemanal, the weekend magazine supplement of daily ABC.

The WHO said Friday that at least 2,837 people had died from swine flu since the virus was uncovered in April in Mexico.

It has estimated that as many as two billion people could become infected over the next two years -- nearly one-third of the world's population.

Swine flu is the first flu pandemic in 40 years. The last one in 1968 killed about one million people.

The new virus appears to be moderate, causing mild illness in most people.

Spain was the first European country to confirm a case of the virus and it is the second-most affected country on the continent after Britain.

The incidence of the A(H1N1) virus in Spain was 53.61 per 100,000 people in the week until 29 August, the equivalent of some 23,000 cases nationally, the health ministry said Thursday in its latest update on the rate of infection.

AFP / Expatica

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