|Tuesday, 21 July 2009|
Swine flu levels are expected to begin moving down as Chile ends its first winter month, Health Undersecretary Jeanette Vega recently said over the weekend.
â€œThere has been a clear drop (in cases) in the Metropolitan area and in the south, but no improvement in the north,â€ Vega said. â€œBut we hope to see a drop in the levels of new cases.â€
Chile has suffered less under the new disease than many places around the world, explained Vega, noting that countryâ€™s flu â€œdata is still quite good compared with international data.â€
There have been 10,900 confirmed cases of swine flu in Chile with 40 deaths, a rate of 0.4 percent, even lower than the 0.7 percent rate in the United States, which has had 263 deaths over 40,000 cases. The World Health Organization has reported 94,512 laboratory-confirmed cases worldwide since April across 136 countries, with 429 deaths.
Still, Vega emphasized that Chile and the world are not yet out of the woods. She said Chileâ€™s government continues taking new precautionary steps, including forming an investigative flu health commission and creation of new testing and treatment facilities in northern Chile, where officials have observed higher rates of the flu.
She noted, too, that it is unlikely a flu vaccine will be developed before the Northern Hemisphere begins its winter months. â€œThis virus, though mild in its current form, has expanded at double the speed of previous pandemics,â€ she warned.
SOURCE: LA TERCERA, RADIO COOPERATIVA, RED SALUD
By Daniel Zarchy ( firstname.lastname@example.org)