WHO REPORTS 700 DEATHS FROM SWINE FLU

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Some 125,000 cases reported worldwide

MELBOURNE, Australia (Radio Australia, July 22, 2009) – The World Health Organisation (WHO) says swine flu has killed more than 700 people around the world since the outbreak began four months ago.

WHO has also acknowledged the number of actual cases of swine flu far exceeds the 125,000 laboratory-confirmed cases of the disease.

The organisation says the pandemic is developing at such a high speed that it is now pointless to try to document every case.

The WHO says the H1N1 virus has claimed 700 lives, a jump of least two-thirds from the last official death toll figure published two weeks ago.

But the WHO stresses that most cases continue to produce only mild symptoms and the overwhelming majority of patients usually recover, even without medical treatment, within a week of falling ill.

Meanwhile, the first trials of a swine flu vaccine that's likely to be distributed globally, will start in the southern Australian city of Adelaide on Wednesday.

The Australian government has ordered 21 million doses of the vaccine developed by CSL Limited, enough to protect the nation's entire population if one dose is needed.

Rachel David from the company says the trials, involving 240 adults, will take about seven months.

But Ms David says there will be enough data by September for the government to start planning distribution.

A small Australian company Vaxine started trials of its own swine flu vaccine on Tuesday.

Vaxine is getting no government support but hopes to sell its synthetic product internationally.

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