A nine-year-old girl has died in Britain from the H1N1 virus, commonly known as swine flu, as authorities reported a jump in the number of cases in the country.
The girl is the third person in the UK to die from swine flu, doctors at a children’s hospital in Birmingham, England said Monday. A spokeswoman for the hospital said in a statement: “We can sadly confirm that a child died at Birmingham Children’s Hospital on Friday evening. “The child has since tested positive for swine flu but had other serious underlying health conditions. “The family have asked for the patient’s identity to be kept private and we will not be releasing any further details.” Meanwhile, Six people were sent home from the Glastonbury music festival in south-west England last weekend with suspected swine flu. 558 new cases were confirmed Monday in the West Midlands area, where the girl died. The UK’s Department of Health also announced a big jump in the number of patients in England confirmed with swine flu – up 1,604 since Friday, taking the UK total so far to 5,937. The latest figures from the World Health Organization show there have now been 311 confirmed deaths around the world from the H1N1 virus first identified in Mexico this spring, and just over 70,000 infections in 113 countries. In the U.S. swine flu cases have hit the one million mark, since the H1N1 virus emerged nearly three months ago, according to the Center for Disease Control. The World Health Organization recently declared that swine flu had become a global pandemic — the organization’s first such announcement in more than 40 years. Increasing the alert to Phase 6 does not mean that the disease is deadlier or more dangerous, only that it has spread to more countries, the WHO said at the time.
The last pandemic was declared in 1968. The announcement came after a meeting of the WHO’s Emergency Committee, which had debated since April whether the spread of a novel H1N1 flu virus was fast and widespread enough to warrant a Phase 6 designation.