June 25, 2009 / 6:43 PM / 9 years ago

Guatemala reports first death from H1N1 flu virus

GUATEMALA CITY (Reuters) - Guatemala’s Health Minister confirmed the country’s first death from the H1N1 flu virus on Thursday, as the number of cases in the country rose to 254.

A 35-year-old man from Cuilapa, Santa Rosa, in southeastern Guatemala died this week after contracting the flu.

“When he arrived for treatment, his condition was already advanced and he didn’t respond positively to the anti-flu treatment,” Health Minister Celso Cerezo told reporters.

A health official said the man was healthy before contracting the flu.

The new virus spread quickly around the globe since it was first spotted in Mexico. The World Health Organization has declared an influenza pandemic, advising governments to prepare for a long-term battle against the illness.

Worldwide, there have been more than 56,000 confirmed cases of the flu, 249 of them fatal.

Reporting by Sarah Grainger

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