H1N1 death toll rises

A five-year-old girl has become the third swine flu victim in Austria this winter.The mentally and physically disabled child passed away in Salzburg’s Provincial Hospital yesterday (Sun) after having suffered from pneumonia for some time, local authorities confirmed today. The girl was hospitalised after her condition worsened last Wednesday.A 32-year-old male German holidaymaker died of the H1N1 virus in Saalbach-Hinterglemm, a ski resort in the province of Salzburg, on New Year’s Day before a chronically ill man, 19, passed away in Feldkirch, Vorarlberg, last Wednesday.Around 40 people perished from the disease in Austria last winter. The exact number of victims cannot be determined as there were no autopsies in some cases.Social Democratic (SPÖ) Health Minister Alois Stöger said Austria was well prepared for a possible pandemic, stressing that its stock of vaccines was full.Hundreds of people have become infected with swine flu in Germany, Great Britain – where authorities have come under a fire due to a shortage of flu vaccines in some regions – and other countries during the past weeks.More than 18,000 fatalities all over the world in 2009 and 2010 have been linked with the virus by the World Health Organisation (WHO).