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Argentina and Brazil identify first flu cases

As global health chiefs warned against complacency over the influenza A (H1N1) outbreak, Brazil and Argentina confirmed their first few cases of the flu.

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AFP - Brazil's health ministry on Thursday confirmed the country's first four cases of A(H1N1) swine flu after the deadly virus was first discovered in Mexico last month.

Three of the confirmed cases had traveled to Mexico and one to the United States, said Health Minister Jose Gomes Temporao.

"They are all young adults and they are all well," he said. "The situation is totally under control. There is no record of human-to-human contagion in Brazil and all cases were contracted abroad."

Gomes added that all infected individuals had passed the stage of contagion. Two of the confirmed cases were found in the southeastern city of Sao Paulo, another in Rio de Janeiro and another in the central state of Minas Gerais.

"The influenza A(H1N1) virus has arrived in Brazil. Nothing changes because the government is taking steps to contain the disease," he said.

The latest cases come as the flu season is just getting underway in the southern hemisphere.

Argentina also reported its first confirmed A(H1N1) case on Thursday.

Outside of Mexico, the epicenter of the flu epidemic, just a few other Latin American countries -- Colombia, El Salvador and Costa Rica -- have confirmed cases of the A(H1N1) virus.

Since it appeared in Mexico at the end of April, the flu has infected 2,371 people in 24 countries and killed 42 people in Mexico and two in the United States, according to a tally by the World Health Organization Thursday.

Gomes said 93 people have been tested for the virus, but the results were negative. Fifteen other people are awaiting results of their tests.

Brazilian health authorities said they now have new equipment that enables them to reach a diagnosis in 72 hours.
   

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