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New Caledonia sees its first death linked to swine flu

New Caledonia has reported the death of a girl from pneumonia linked to A(H1N1) influenza, she is the first person to die there because of H1N1.

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AFP - An eight-year-old girl has become the first fatality linked to swine flu in New Caledonia, health officials in the French Pacific territory said Wednesday.

The girl died in hospital on Monday of pneumonia, two days after being admitted with A(H1N1) influenza, the territory's health department said.

The announcement came as the government said 20,000 people had "potentially" been infected since the end of June by swine flu -- some eight percent of the population.

Philippe Dunoyer, a government official responsible for health, said the figure was derived from a number of statistics including the number of boxes of Tamiflu prescribed and absence levels in schools.

New Caledonia has confirmed 360 cases of swine flu. The territory sits 1,500 kilometres (930 miles) east of Australia, the worst-hit nation in the Asia-Pacific region, and is connected to its neighbour by daily flights.

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