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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Mexico, US, Canada announce swine flu deaths

CHICAGO - Authorities in Mexico announced three more swine flu deaths and the United States and Canada one more death each as the world's largest vaccine maker signed a deal with the United States to produce a swine flu vaccine.

The World Health Organization says at least 46 countries have confirmed more than 12,950 swine flu cases. The Mexican death toll now stands at 83, and Canada's is two. The U.S. death is the 12th in the country.

The tiny nation of Bahrain reported Tuesday that a 20-year-old student had come down with mild swine flu _ the first case in a citizen of a Gulf Arab country. Kuwait, another Gulf nation, reported Sunday that 18 U.S. soldiers who passed through were infected with swine flu but had recovered and left the country.

Puerto Rico and the Czech Republic both reported their cases on Monday.

Sanofi Pasteur said Monday it has won a $190 million order from the United States government to make a swine flu vaccine. Sanofi Pasteur, which operates flu vaccine production plants at Swiftwater, Pa., and in Val de Reuil, in France, said it could begin commercial production in June.

Mexico unveiled a $90 million campaign aimed at luring back tourists to the country where the illness has hit hardest. Tourism is Mexico's third-largest source of legal foreign income, but worries over swine flu have sent hotel occupancy rates to a record low.

In the U.S., federal health authorities have confirmed 6,700 swine flu cases, most of them mild. But New York health officials reported another death during the weekend. And Dr. Damon Arnold, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, said a resident of the Chicago area had died.

Canadian officials said Monday that a Toronto man who had swine flu but also suffered a chronic medical condition died Saturday.

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