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Canada's A/H1N1 flu cases approach 5,000, school closed after outbreak
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The A/H1N1 flu continues to spread fast in Canada as the total cases surged to 4,905 Wednesday, with 856 cases added during the past two days.

With one new death reported on Wednesday, the number of people who died of this virus has rosen to 12, the Public Health Agency of Canada said in releasing the latest figures.

The number of severe patients who require hospitalization has increased to 284.

The total number of cases in Ontario, the worst-hit province, has rosen to 2,267, followed by Quebec with 1,116.

Meanwhile, an elementary school in the western province of British Columbia was ordered to shut down for almost a week after five cases of A/H1N1 flu was confirmed.

The Burnaby School District ordered the closure after the latest case were found to have caught the flu while attending the school, raising concerns that more students could be infected.

All five patients are recovering, school officials said.

The flu continues to hit Canada's aboriginal communities hard. In the western province of Manitoba, total confirmed cases rose to 260, with 34 new cases added Wednesday. Almost one-third of the new cases are in the vast northern part of the province which includes more than a dozen aboriginal reserves.

The outbreak has also spread to at least six reserves in neighboring Ontario province, with one reserve reporting at least 200 people with flu symptoms.

Local leaders have blamed the rapid spread on the cramped conditions of the residents, warning "we are seeing clusters of outbreaks that have potential to move quickly through the population."

Federal and provincial government have sent additional nurses and doctors to the reserves and anyone with flu-symptoms is being treated with Tamiflu.

(Xinhua News Agency June 18, 2009)

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