By PAUL HAVEN (AP) – 19 hours ago
HAVANA — Cuba has acknowledged its first deaths from swine flu, saying three pregnant women succumbed to the virus and many more have been treated for symptoms.
Deputy Health Minister Jose Angel Portal said a total of 2,100 pregnant women were treated for symptoms of the disease, with 110 of them seriously ill, in comments reported by the official Communist Party newspaper, Granma, on Saturday.
He said three pregnant women died of the disease, according to Granma.
The report does not say how many women remain hospitalized, nor make clear whether all of the 2,100 cases were confirmed to be H1N1.
The communist government has said it will use everything at its disposal to fight swine flu — including calling in the armed forces — but it has expressed deep reservations about global plans to use a vaccine, which is currently being rolled.
Cuban health officials have said that that program will be costly and could also be ineffective, since the virus could easily mutate and make any vaccine obsolete.
The article said there are now 621 confirmed cases — including 177 children — in the country of more than 11 million people.
Most of the early cases of swine flu were among visitors to the island, but Granma said the number of Cubans coming down with the virus was rising.
Swine flu, first identified in April, is a global epidemic. The World Health Organization says there have been more than 375,000 loboratory confirmed cases and over 4,500 deaths linked to the illness. But many countries have stopped counting individual cases.
On the Net:
WHO swine flu updates: http://www.who.int/csr/disease/swineflu/updates/en/index.html