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Mexico sees surge of swine flu as authorities urge calm

Mexican authorities say there is no cause for alarm as swine flu cases this month surpass all those recorded in 2011.

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A boy is vaccinated against the AH1N1 influenza virus (known as swine flu) in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico on March 28. (JESUS ALCAZAR/AFP/Getty Images)

Mexico, the birth place of swine flu, is seeing a resurgence of the virus.

Swine flu is surging in Mexico this month, with more cases recorded since the start of the year than in all of 2011, The Associated Press reported, citing Mexican authorities.

Citing Mexican health secretary Salomon Chertorivski Woldenberg, the AP said there had been 1,623 cases of all strains of the influenza virus so far this month, 90 percent of them H1N1.

Authorities say there is no cause for alarm. However Mexico City was brought to a stand still in 2009 when the swine flu pandemic began.

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That strain started a pandemic after first being identified in humans in Mexico in 2009. Thirty-two have died this month, 29 from the H1N1 strain, the AP said, citing Chertorivski. The virus and several others are referred to as swine flu as they are endemic in pigs.

According to the AP, there were only about 1,000 flu cases in Mexico during all of 2011, about 25 percent of them were swine flu. Thirty-five cases were fatal.

Chertorivski said the number of cases were within normal flu season fluctuations.

The Los Angeles Times reported that Chertorivski had also said he expected the number of cases to increase for about the next month but then to taper off.

Many Mexicans are worried by reports that the rate of infection appeared to soar at the end of this month when the number of cases tripled in a week, according to The Times.

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In 2009, Mexican authorities shut down schools and shuttered tourist resorts nationwide. But according to The Times, Chertorivski told reporters that there was no need to take any such action now.

The Times also cited Pablo Kuri Morales, deputy health minister for prevention, who said Mexican authorities are now better prepared to handle the virus.

"We know the threat we are facing," Pablo Kuri Morales was quoted as saying. "We know the virus. We have vaccines. We can make timely diagnoses."

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/mexico/120131/mexico-sees-surge-swine-flu-authorities-urge-calm