BRASILIA – The Brazilian government announced that an additional 176 deaths from the AH1N1 flu virus deaths have been confirmed in recent days, bringing the country’s swine-flu death toll to 368.
The higher fatality figure does not indicate the number of people who perished in a one-week period earlier this month, but rather the amount of virus-related deaths confirmed in laboratory tests between Aug. 8 and Aug. 15, the Health Ministry said.
Half of all victims of the virus in Brazil have had at least one risk factor, such as metabolic and respiratory illness, chronic heart disease, high blood pressure or immunodepression, according to the ministry’s latest epidemiological bulletin released Tuesday.
That group includes 46 deaths among pregnant women, who have accounted for 12.5 percent of all swine-flu fatalities nationwide.
With the latest figures, Brazil currently ranks as the country with the third most swine-flu fatalities worldwide, after the United States (477) and Argentina (404) and ahead of Mexico (163), where the pandemic began.
Brazil’s mortality rate has now climbed to 0.19 deaths per 100,000 people, the world’s ninth highest.
The regions hardest hit by the virus have been Sao Paulo, the country’s most populated state, with 151 deaths, followed by the southern states of Parana (81), Rio Grande do Sul (68), Rio de Janeiro (45) and Santa Catarina (10), which experience the lowest temperatures during the Southern Hemisphere’s winter.
A total of 20,820 patients in Brazil were diagnosed with severe acute pulmonary insufficiency between April 25 and Aug. 15, 3,087 of whom were found to be inflicted with the AH1N1 flu virus, the ministry said.
The number of swine-flu cases began to decline over the past week, according to the ministry, which acknowledged that its information is incomplete because many state health departments have not updated their reports. EFE