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ASIA: Thailand swine flu toll nearly doubles to 44: ministry

Wed Jul 22 18:43:27 EST 2009

BANGKOK, July 22 AFP/AAP - The swine flu death toll in Thailand rose to 44 on Wednesday, making it the country with the most reported fatalities in the Asia-Pacific region, officials said.

The death toll, almost double the figure released last week, surpassed that of Australia, where 41 deaths linked to the virus have been recorded.

"I am not surprised at the high number because there was a backlog from last week," Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said.

Thailand's public health ministry confirmed on Wednesday that 6,776 people have been infected with the A(H1N1) virus - less than half the number of cases reported in Australia.

Across Australia there have been 14,703 confirmed cases to date, with 93 patients needing intensive care treatment.

Abhisit's cabinet has approved a $US25 million ($A30.59 million) budget for vaccines and anti-viral drugs to curb the spread.