WHO disputes '150 swine flu deaths' in Mexico
A MEMBER of the World Health Organisation has dismissed claims that more than 150 people have died from swine flu, saying it has officially recorded only seven deaths around the world.
Reports have put the likely death toll from the virus at 152, with Mexican officials confirming 20 deaths.
The number of cases under observation in Mexico alone has reportedly reached 1614.
But Vivienne Allan, from WHO's patient safety program, said the body had confirmed that worldwide there had been just seven deaths - all in Mexico - and 79 confirmed cases of the disease.
"Unfortunately that (150-plus deaths) is incorrect information and it does happen, but that's not information that's come from the World Health Organisation,'' Ms Allan said.
"That figure is not a figure that's come from the World Health Organisation and, I repeat, the death toll is seven and they are all from Mexico.''
I'm not sure what to make of this. Either WHO is using a much more closely controlled set of criteria for determining morbity, or the reporting of the spread of this new disease has been swept up in overblown hysteria.
The reports from the field are much more alarming. Just today in the BBC reader reports section, a doctor from Mexico reported:
The number of cases increases significantly every day. The number of fatalities is also increasing. At least three doctors are said to have died from swine flu. There is great fear among the medical community. We know that the situation is very serious and that we are at high risk of infection.
But we are more scared of carrying it into our homes and infecting our loved ones. One of my colleagues that was exposed chose to stay in a hotel rather than run the risk of infecting her daughters. ...
In one hospital doctors were given the anti-viral rimantadine, even though there is resistance to this drug. Also, fewer samples are being taken from severe cases, as there is a lack of means of transporting and cultivating the samples.
Perhaps the lack of sampling in Mexico has something to do with the lack of data.
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Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom