By the end of last week, the World Health Organisation said that at least 3,205 people have died from swine flu since the new A(H1N1) virus was uncovered in April.
Most of the deaths occurred in the Americas region, where 2,467 fatalities have been reported to the UN health agency. The Asia-Pacific region recorded 527 deaths, followed by Europe where at least 125 people have succumbed to the infection. The death toll in the Middle East reached 51 while the number of deaths in Africa climbed to 35, said the WHO in an update posted on its website.
The figure represents a jump of more than a 1,000 on a fortnight ago when the WHO said the overall toll stood at 2,185.
Most prevalent form of influenza
The WHO reiterated that the new flu virus is now the most prevalent form of influenza, having swiftly overtaken other flu viruses.
According to the WHO's flu database, 76% of flu detections reported during August 23 to 29 have been found to be of the pandemic strain.
The UN health agency also noted that flu activity appeared to be increasing in some parts of the northern hemisphere, which is about to enter the flu-prone winter season.
Parts of eastern Europe and south-east United States are reporting increases in infections.
In tropical South America and Asia, the caseload is also increasing. Countries such as Bolivia, Ecuador, Venezuela, India, Bangladesh and Cambodia are all reporting more flu cases, said the WHO.
Meanwhile, in Central America, the Caribbeans and the temperate regions of the southern hemisphere, the number of flu infections appear to be declining, it added. – (Sapa/AFP, September 2009)
Swine flu timeline
Swine flu world map