Swine flu kills 12 in Hong Kong in under a month


HONG KONG – At least 12 people have died from swine flu in Hong Kong in less than a month, the territory’s health authority said Thursday, after the latest death from the disease. A spokeswoman for the health authority said one elderly person had died of confirmed swine flu, while another had died of influenza type A, of which swine flue is a sub-type.
An increase in swine flu cases caused densely populated Hong Kong to step up surveillance for the virus on January 24. Since then there have been at least 12 swine flu deaths, while another two people have died from type A flu, with the sub-type not yet confirmed, the spokeswoman told AFP. “We want to make the public alert to the seriousness” of the situation, she said.
The latest cases come a year-and-a-half after an outbreak of the disease killed 80 people in the city. The southern Chinese financial centre, home to seven million people, is particularly nervous about infectious diseases following the 2003 SARS outbreak, which killed 300 people in the city and a further 500 worldwide.
Swine flu has killed more than 18,400 people and affected virtually all parts of the world since it was uncovered in Mexico and the United States in April 2009, according to the World Health Organization. In August, the agency said swine flu had “largely run its course”, declaring an end to the pandemic.