Swine flu confirmed in New Zealand and Israel

With more countries coming under the threat of the deadly swine flu virus, new cases of infection have been confirmed in New Zealand and Israel.

Suspected cases of the infection were reported in 12 countries, including seven EU member-states.

They are: Brazil, Guatemala, Peru, Australia, South Korea, Denmark, Sweden, Greece, the Czech Republic, Germany, Italy and the Irish Republic.

In Mexico, where the killer disease originated, 152 suspected deaths occurred. There were 50 confirmed cases in the United States. But, no deaths have been reported outside Mexico.

Tuesday, New Zealand government confirmed three cases of swine flu in the country. All of them were students that had traveled to Mexico, said New Zealand's Health Minister Tony Ryall.

An Israeli youth, also a returnee from Mexico, was suffering from swine fever, the country's health ministry said on Tuesday. The Middle East region's first case of swine flu was confirmed in the city of Netanya.

The World Health Organization (WHO), the UN's health agency, said research had shown that border controls did not avert the spread of such viruses.

WHO assistant secretary general Keiji Fukuda clarified thus: "in this age of global travel, where people move around in airplanes so quickly, there is no region to which this virus could not spread."

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