April 28, 2009 / 8:26 AM / 11 years ago

FACTBOX: New flu strain kills almost 150

(Reuters) - Israel and New Zealand confirmed on Tuesday their first cases of swine flu, becoming the latest countries to be hit by the new strain that has killed at least 149 people in Mexico.

World governments and businesses announced new steps to try to slow the spread of the virus.

Here are details of the latest number of cases and some facts about previous influenza outbreaks:

COUNTRY DEATHS CASES SUSPECTED CASES

(Confirmed)

INFLUENZA:

* Seasonal flu kills between 250,000 and 500,000 people globally in an average year. Here are some details of previous pandemics:

— Three worldwide (pandemic) outbreaks of influenza occurred in the 20th century, in 1918, 1957 and 1968. It is estimated approximately 20 to 40 percent of the worldwide population became ill and more than 50 million people died in the earliest of the outbreaks. Estimates of victims of the 1968-70 pandemic show a range of 1-3 million fatalities, of which over 30,000 were from the United Kingdom. — The three have been informally identified as Spanish, Asian, and Hong Kong influenza, respectively. They are now known to represent three different antigenic subtypes of influenza A virus: H1N1, H2N2, and H3N2, respectively.

Sources: Reuters/WHO/CDC/www.hpa.org.uk

Writing by David Cutler, London Editorial Reference Unit; Editing by Sophie Hares

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