South Africa's swine flu death toll has risen to 18 from a total of more than 5,000 cases as health authorities Monday urged critical care for pregnant women with flu-like symptoms.
"Nine of the deaths have been in pregnant woman, with the majority in the third trimester of pregnancy," the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) said in a statement.
Advertisement"It is critical that pandemic influenza A(H1N1) infection should receive particular attention in any pregnant woman with influenza-like illness."
Other risk factors for severe illness were people with asthma, diabetes, any chronic heart and lung condition and any cause of depressed immunity.
However, the NICD said the bulk of infections were mild, adding that routine testing was not needed to guide treatment.
The country's first case was detected on June 18.