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UK Reports First Swine Flu Death Outside Americas


Britain is reporting its first H1N1 swine flu death, the first known fatality outside the Americas.

Scotland's government said an unidentified patient died from swine flu at a hospital Sunday. It said the patient had other health conditions, but it gave no details.

Swine flu generally has relatively mild symptoms, but it can cause serious problems in patients with other health conditions, such as obesity and asthma.

Scottish Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon said the risk to the general population is very low. She said people can stop the spread with such simple steps as hand washing and covering a sneeze.

Last week, the United Nations' World Health Organization declared swine flu to be a global pandemic, with nearly 30,000 confirmed cases in 74 countries. A pandemic does not refer to the severity of a disease, but means it has spread to a large number of countries.

WHO Director-General Margaret Chan calls the virus "unstoppable," but says it poses only a moderate danger.

At least 145 people have died, mostly in Mexico, where the latest outbreak is believed to have started.

The Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis announced Friday that it has produced the first batch of an experimental swine flu vaccine. It says it expects to start clinical trials next month.


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


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