Published December 24, 2009
GENEVA – At least 11,516 people around the globe have died from the H1N1 flu virus since the pandemic emerged in April, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported on Wednesday.
But in its weekly update, which showed an increase in officially reported deaths of nearly 1,000 since its last report, it said the disease appeared to have peaked or plateaued in Western Europe and North America while transmission was declining in parts of Asia.
In the United States and Canada, the virus remained geographically widespread but overall levels of flu-like illnesses had declined substantially and hospitalizations and deaths were dropping, the WHO said.
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In Europe, active transmission of the virus was still widespread across the continent but in a majority of countries its activity appeared to have peaked — although it was increasing in central and eastern parts of the continent.
In an earlier report on Tuesday, the United Nations agency said the pandemic remained moderate but continued to infect and sometimes kill much younger people than traditional seasonal flu.
But although it gives figures of confirmed deaths from H1N1, sometimes known as swine flu, officials at the WHO say comparing mortality numbers from the two types of flu is complicated and can be misleading.