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Argentina Reports First Swine Flu Death


Health officials in Argentina say a three-month-old baby has died from the A-H1N1 swine flu virus, becoming the first fatality in the South American country.

Authorities who announced the death Monday did not say how the infant contracted the flu strain.

According to the World Health Organization, Argentina has 343 cases of swine flu.

Elsewhere in the world, Jordanian health officials reported the nation's first two cases of the flu Tuesday. Officials provided few details, but said the two infected young females had recently been overseas.

And Qatar's health minister also announced its first two swine flu cases Tuesday. He said two foreign boys, both two years of age, were diagnosed with the virus after they flew into Qatar from the United States and Austria.

WHO officials have not yet confirmed the cases in Jordan and Qatar. WHO's tally, as of June 15, shows H1N1 flu virus has infected nearly 36,000 people in 76 countries. More than 160 people have died, mostly in Mexico, where the outbreak began.

The United States has reported the largest number of infections.

The biggest rise in virus infection is in the United States, according to the WHO, which says more than 4,600 new cases of infection in the U.S. have been confirmed since Friday, along with 18 deaths. That brings U.S. totals to nearly 18,000 (17,855) people infected and 45 fatalities.

The number of confirmed swine-flu cases in Britain has jumped by nearly 50 percent since Friday, to more than 1,200 (1,226).

Meanwhile, in Suriname, the public health minister says swine flu has struck the national volleyball team, infecting 11 team members who recently traveled to the twin island nation of Trinidad and Tobago.

In the Philippines, authorities have reported a cluster of swine flu cases in a remote northern village involving people who have not recently traveled out of the country. Officials say most of the victims are children.

Australia's health minister, Nicola Roxon, says the government is close to raising the countrywide swine flu alert level to the second-highest phase, a move that would empower authorities to cancel sports events, close schools and restrict travel, if needed.

Last week, WHO declared swine flu to be a global pandemic, a reference that does not refer to the severity of a disease but means it has spread to a large number of countries.

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

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

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