Swine Flu Death Toll In Brazil Soars To Almost 200, Says Health Ministry

by Aruna on Aug 13 2009 11:48 AM

Brazil's swine flu death toll has soared to almost 200, said Health Minister Jose Temporao.

His new figure of 192 was double the figure given by the health ministry last Wednesday, although a tally of individual states last week already came to 132 deaths.

If confirmed by the World Health Organization, the new toll would mean Brazil population 190 million has overtaken Mexico to become the country with the third largest number of fatalities from the A(H1N1) virus, after the United States and Argentina.

The bulk of the victims died in southern Brazil, where the southern hemisphere's winter is at its peak.

According to Health Ministry figures, 40 percent of the victims were from Sao Paulo state; 23 percent were from Rio Grande do Sul state, which borders on Argentina and Uruguay, and 22 percent were from Parana, which borders on Argentina and Paraguay.

Temporao provided the information in testimony to Congress explaining the government's approach to the pandemic.

Seventy-seven percent of the serious flu cases currently in Brazil were caused by the A(H1N1) virus, Temporao said.

Meanwhile, Mexico also has seen an increase in swine flu deaths, from 149 to 162, health officials said Tuesday.

Mexico once was considered the epicenter of the swine flu outbreak but it has been surpassed in the number of fatal cases by the United States (353), Brazil (192) and Argentina (165).

Officials in Canada, meanwhile, announced two new deaths, bringing the number of fatal cases there to 66.

The World Health Organization reports that the virus has killed 1,462 people around the world, according to official tallies, with 177,457 falling ill in some 170 countries.