May 7, 2009 / 11:08 PM / 10 years ago

Brazil confirms 4 cases of H1N1 flu-minister

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BRASILIA, May 7 (Reuters) - Brazil confirmed four cases of the new H1N1 flu virus, the country’s first, Health Minister Jose Temporao said on Thursday.

Brazil is the second country in South America to confirm a case of the swine flu, after Colombia.

"The virus arrived in Brazil," Temporao said, adding that there were no indications it was circulating within the country.

He said the four Brazilians had contracted the virus abroad. Three had come from Mexico and one from the United States.

Temporao said 15 people were still being tested for the flu.

Brazil has been screening passengers on flights from the United States, Mexico and Canada for flu symptoms and placed an order for 100,000 surgical masks to be distributed at airports. Ships are also being screened.

On Monday, the Health Ministry asked the government to free up 141 million reais ($66.9 million) to buff up measures against the flu in Brazil.

The new flu, a mixture of swine viruses with elements of human and bird flu, has now infected more than 2,000 people in 24 countries worldwide, the World Health Organization said on Thursday.


(Reporting by Ana Paula Paiva and Natuza Nery; Writing by Ana Nicolaci da Costa; Editing by Raymond Colitt)

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