Europe has confirmed its first case of swine flu as efforts increase to contain the virus.
Spanish health officials say one patient has been confirmed with the bug, while 17 others are still under examination.
With the EU calling an urgent meeting of health ministers, the commission president, Jose Manuel Barroso, gave this advice:
“What I can say to European citizens is that yes we are following the situation very carefully and very closely, together with all the member states.”
So far more than a hundred people have died in Mexico from the virus and outbreaks have also been confirmed in the US and Canada. Tests are also being carried out on people as far afield as New Zealand, Europe and Israel.
With the virus turning Mexico City into a virtual ghost town, one man struck down by the virus said:
‘‘I have lots of pain in my joints, fatigue, high fever. We came from the clinic but they wouldn’t take me because I don’t have insurance there. I heard on the hotline about the influenza that they’re supposed to take you if you’re a flu patient even if you don’t have insurance.’‘
While officials are watching closely to see if the virus mutates into a more dangerous strain, the World Health Organisation has asked all countries to step up surveillance measures.
Europe confirms swine flu case