The World Health Organisation said on Tuesday that swine flu has killed more than 700 people around the world since the outbreak began some four months ago.
The previous toll published by the WHO on July 6 amounted to 429 deaths, but spokeswoman Aphaluck Bhatiasevi told journalists the figure was now "over 700 deaths."
AdvertisementThe UN health agency said last week that it would stop giving a regular roundup of the number of laboratory-confirmed cases worldwide after the pandemic of the new influenza A(H1N1) had "spread internationally with unprecedented speed."
The policy shift was partly motivated by the "mildness of symptoms in the overwhelming majority of patients, who usually recover, even without medical treatment, within a week of the onset of symptoms."
The WHO said the counting of all individual cases was no longer essential to assess the risk, so it was best to watch the virus's appearance in new territories.
It also urged affected countries -- more than 125 at the beginning of this month -- to monitor any change in the patterns of illness that might indicate that the new virus was getting more serious.
Between 250,000 to 500,000 people around the world die of regular seasonal flu every year, according to the WHO.