40 countries have officially reported cases of the Influenza A(H1N1) virus, also known as Swine Flu.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the 40 countries have reported a total of 8829 cases, with 74 deaths.
The 40 countries include Australia with 1 confirmed case and New Zealand with 9 confirmed cases, an indication of how close the virus is to the region.

Countries are still being urged to take the necessary precautions. In Fiji, the WHO has stated that there is no place for complacency with Fiji Times Online reporting that the organization 'believes the H1N1 strain of Influenza A is getting closer to Fiji following the confirmation of about a 100 cases in Japan, one in Australia, and nine in New Zealand to date'.

Medical officer Doctor Jacob Kool said the virus was now close to our shores as countries with air links to Fiji were reporting an increasing number of confirmed cases.

All the places that have confirmed cases have links to Fiji, Dr Kool said.

So, we must be careful. I must emphasise that people should continue to wash their hands not only because of this flu but typhoid, diarrohoea and the seasonal flu.

While the virus is mostly mild in most of the countries, those who are succumbing to the virus are either old or have lung or heart diseases.

Fiji has not reported a case yet but health officials and other stakeholders have begun preparing and claim to be prepared for the virus.

The United States, which also has direct ties to the region, has 4,714 cases.

For a complete list of countries affected and further information, follow the link provided below.