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Mexico swine flu deaths as many as 159

A mother and her son wear protective masks in Mexico City April 28, 2009. REUTERS/Daniel Aguilar

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - The death toll in Mexico from an outbreak of a new type of swine flu has risen to as many as 159 people, Health Minister Jose Angel Cordova said on Tuesday.

Cordova told a news conference that more than 1,300 people were in hospitals, some of them “seriously” ill, out of a total of around 2,500 suspected cases of the virus.

The number of fatalities was up by 10 from the previous day, although Cordova said many of the deaths have not been definitively attributed to the swine flu. Some victims died and were buried or cremated before the virus was spotted and could be tested.

Most of the deaths have been in the capital, Mexico City, the adjacent State of Mexico and the nearby state of San Luis Potosi. Other affected states, such as Aguascalientes and Veracruz have only seen a handful of deaths.

Cordova said the victims ranged from children, through young adults and middle-aged people to the elderly, a different pattern to common seasonal flu that mainly only kills infants and old people. “The distribution doesn’t follow a fixed pattern,” he said.

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