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     WHO reports 525,000 swine flu cases worldwide

    Russia's Health Ministry reports 600 flu deaths in 2009

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    About 600 people have died in Russia from flu, including the H1N1 virus, since the start of the year, the health minister said on Wednesday.

    About 600 people have died in Russia from flu, including the H1N1 virus, since the start of the year, the health minister said on Wednesday.

    "The number of people who have died from different kinds of flu since the start of the year does not exceed 600," Tatyana Golikova said.

    The minister said the number of flu and respiratory infection cases has exceeded the epidemic threshold in 46 regions across the country. However, in some cities the number of cases has reduced, she said.

    She said 11,633 swine flu cases have been so far registered in Russia.

    The official death toll from swine flu in Russia has reached 16. Media reports earlier said there have been 26 human swine flu deaths registered in the country.

    Mass swine flu vaccinations began in five Russian regions on November 9.

    Four vaccines against the virus have been tested and registered in Russia. The government has allocated 4 billion rubles ($140 million) to buy the initial 43 million doses of vaccines. Russia plans to have 35.5 million doses before the end of the year.

    The World Health Organization said the total number of officially confirmed swine flu cases has exceeded 525,000 worldwide, with about 6,750 fatalities, as of November 20.

    The Russian health minister warned earlier this month against a media panic over the virus.

    MOSCOW, November 25 (RIA Novosti)

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