by VR Sreeraman on  August 20, 2009 at 2:36 PM Tropical Disease News
 Latin America Swine Flu Deaths Climb to 1,300
Deaths from swine flu in Latin America -- the worst-hit region in the world -- rose to over 1,300 on Wednesday after governments added to tolls from the disease.

Brazil late Tuesday said its count climbed to 368 deaths, putting it just behind Argentina which, with 404 deaths, has the second-highest fatality tally in the world. The United States has 477 deaths.

South America has seen the A(H1N1) spread widely during its southern hemisphere winter. In several countries, it has overtaken ordinary seasonal flu.

With vaccines against swine flu still more than a month away from being available -- and wealthy countries snapping up all available pre-orders from the big drug companies -- Latin American nations are looking at ignoring patents to produce their own.

Argentine President Cristina Kirchner late Tuesday renewed her call for pharmaceutical groups to drop patent protection for their vaccines.

"Given the laboratories' confession that they can't produce enough A(H1N1) flu vaccine for the whole world, the economic rights should be suspended to protect the health of mankind," she said.

She added that Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay could cooperate to produce vaccines for the region.

With the total number of deaths in Latin America hitting 1,303, according to an AFP tally of national government figures, the region accounts for more than 70 percent of the world's fatalities.

According to a toll given by the World Health Organization on Wednesday, the total number of deaths worldwide stands at 1,799.

Here are Latin America's swine flu deaths by country, according to the latest government numbers:

Argentina ... 404

Brazil ...... 368

Mexico ...... 164

Chile ....... 105

Peru ........ 62

Paraguay .... 39

Costa Rica .. 28

Uruguay ..... 25

Colombia .... 23

Ecuador ..... 23

Bolivia ..... 17

Venezuela ... 15

El Salvador . 12

Guatemala ... 10

Honduras .... 4

Panama ...... 4

Source: AFP

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