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Swine Flu Cases Rise

The World Health Organization said the number of countries with confirmed cases of the swine influenza A-H1N1 has risen to 66.

In its latest figures released Wednesday, the WHO said there are more than 19,000 confirmed cases of swine flu worldwide and that the virus is responsible for 117 deaths.

In addition to that count, authorities in Saudi Arabia Wednesday confirmed the country's first case of the virus.

Saudi Health Minister Abdullah al-Rabeeah told news media a nurse arrived in the country Friday aboard a flight from the Philippines. He said she began showing symptoms of the virus and later tested positive for the virus.

In the Philippines, health officials said De La Salle University in Manila has suspended classes for 10 days starting Wednesday after a foreign student tested positive for swine flu.

The WHO has said it is closer to declaring a pandemic as the infection appears to be taking hold outside North America.

The WHO had said previously it needs to see clear evidence of sustained community transmission of the virus from person to person in at least two regions of the world before it raises its alert to the Phase 6 pandemic stage. The alert level is currently at Phase 5.

Most of the swine flu cases have been reported in the United States, Mexico and Canada. Mexico has the most swine flu deaths, with about 100.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.