Brazil swine flu toll 577, highest in world


Brasilia : A total of 577 people have died from swine flu in Brazil, putting the South American nation at the top of the list of countries reporting fatalities from the Influenza A (H1N1) virus, the health ministry said.

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The mortality rate, however, is 0.29 percent in Brazil, well below the 1.08 percent rate in Argentina, the 0.75 percent rate in Chile and the 0.67 percent rate in Costa Rica, which have the highest levels in Latin America, health officials said Thursday.

The toll from swine flu stood at 488 as of last Friday, the health ministry said, noting that the jump in the death toll was due to lab tests coming back positive for people who died between Aug 16 and Aug 22.

Brazil now has the highest number of deaths from swine flu followed by the US with 522, Argentina with 439 and Mexico with 179, according to the World Health Organization.

A total of 5,206 people have contracted swine flu and undergone treatment as of Wednesday, the health ministry said.

The government has decided to appropriate 2.1 billion reais ($1.13 billion) for the purchase of vaccinations against swine flu, health officials said.

The funds will allow health officials to purchase 73 million doses of the vaccine, which will be administered during the first half of 2010 to deal with an expected outbreak of the disease during the southern hemisphere winter.