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Confirmed Influenza Cases Rise In Spain

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

On 3 May 2009, WHO/Europe was informed of a substantial increase in the number of confirmed cases of influenza A(H1N1) in Spain, bringing the total for the country to 40. This increase could reflect the continuing testing of previously collected specimens, and not necessarily a surge in infections.

France, Ireland and Italy have reported their first laboratory-confirmed cases. Further, since yesterday’s update, four additional confirmed cases of the flu virus were reported in Germany and seven in the United Kingdom.

As of 13:00 Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) on 3 May 2009, National Focal Points for the International Health Regulations had reported a total of 74 laboratory-confirmed cases of influenza A(H1N1) to WHO/Europe. In the WHO European Region, 11 countries have confirmed cases of influenza A(H1N1): Austria (1), Denmark (1), France (2), Germany (8), Ireland (1), Israel (3), Italy (1), the Netherlands (1), Spain (40), Switzerland (1) and the United Kingdom (15). Confirmed cases in the Region have typically presented with mild illness.

Most of the confirmed influenza A cases reported in the Region are in people who have travelled to affected areas in the Americas; limited person-to-person transmission has been documented in only five instances. At this time, there is no evidence of sustained community human-to-human transmission in the European Region.

Action by countries

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Most European countries are taking measures to mitigate the impact of influenza A(H1N1):

* reviewing and activating pandemic preparedness plans;

* strengthening surveillance for early detection and management of cases;

* strengthening laboratory and testing capacity;

* stockpiling sufficient amounts of antiviral drugs; and

* distributing health information to the general public, travellers and health care providers, including establishing toll-free telephone numbers.

Countries should remain on high alert for unusual outbreaks of influenza-like illness and cases of severe pneumonia.