WHO: Worldwide death toll of A/H1N1 flu rises over 2,100

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At least 2,185 people worldwide have died from the A/H1N1 influenza since the new virus was identified in April, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday.

All the six WHO regions have reported deaths from the pandemic, with the Americas reporting the largest death number of 1,876, the UN agency said in a latest update of the situation.

In South-East Asia, 139 deaths were recorded, followed by Europe with at least 85 deaths. Deaths in the West Pacific, Africa and East Mediterranean stand at 64, 11 and 10 respectively.

The total number of lab confirmed A/H1N1 flu cases reported worldwide is over 209,438, but this actually understates the real number of cases as countries are no longer required to test and report individual cases, the WHO said.

Meanwhile, the WHO warned that the H1N1 pandemic virus "has rapidly established itself and is now the dominant influenza strain in most parts of the world."

"The pandemic will persist in the coming months as the virus continues to move through susceptible populations," it said in a statement.

It advised countries in the northern hemisphere to prepare for a second wave of pandemic spread.

"Countries with tropical climates, where the pandemic virus arrived later than elsewhere, also need to prepare for an increasing number of cases," it added.

According to WHO experts, there are currently no signs that the H1N1 virus has mutated to a more virulent or lethal form.

Although the virus can cause very severe and fatal illness, also in young and healthy people, the number of such cases remains small, the WHO said.

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