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BC sees continued sharp fall in H1N1 deaths

B.C. recorded 23 new cases of H1N1 influenza in the past week, but only two persons died of the disease. The figures reflect a continuing local decline in the intensity of the pandemic.

According to the weekly surveillance update published today by the B.C. Centre for Disease Control, the largest number of new cases was 16, recorded in Vancouver Island Health Authority.

Fraser Health had four new hospitalizations, Interior Health had 2, and Vancouver Coastal had 4, as well as both deaths. (Two earlier deaths were confirmed this week in Interior Health.)

All told, 1,032 British Columbians have been hospitalized with H1N1, and 51 have died of it. According to the B.C. CDC, 87 percent of those dying of H1N1 had some underlying health condition -- most often lung disease or obesity.

Meanwhile, the latest surveillance published by the Public Health Agency of Canada reports 18 new H1N1 deaths between December 10 and 15, 10 of them in Ontario. Since the outbreak of H1N1 last spring, 390 Canadians have died of the disease.

The World Health Organization estimated on December 11 that at least 9,596 persons worldwide have died of H1N1 so far.

Crawford Kilian is a contributing editor of The Tyee.

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