WHO: Swine Flu Decline in South Helps Monitoring

The World Health Organization says the coming end of the regular flu season in the southern hemisphere will help it better track the spread of swine flu there.

Since the symptoms of swine flu and regular flu are nearly identical, the two diseases are easily mistaken for one another. Laboratories also don't have the capacity to test every case to determine which cases are swine flu.

WHO spokesman Thomas Abraham said on Friday the peak of the southern hemisphere's flu season is almost over. Once the regular flu season ends, officials will be able to assume that all flu cases are swine flu, or H1N1, as is the case in the northern hemisphere.

So far, the virus has infected more than 130,000 people and killed 800 worldwide.

WHO has previously said that swine flu could strike poorer nations, like those in Latin America and Africa harder, since those populations have other health problems like HIV, malaria and tuberculosis that could make the disease deadly.

Most people who get swine flu only experience mild symptoms and recover without medical treatment.

The European Union also called G-7 nations — the United States, Japan, Germany, Britain, France, Italy and Canada — to coordinate efforts to contain the virus with Mexico and the World Health Organization. It called for a September meeting in Brussels.