Page last updated at 15:09 GMT, Thursday, 18 June 2009 16:09 UK

South Africa gets swine flu case

H1N1 bacteria
Swine flu was last week declared a global pandemic

South Africa's first swine flu case - a 12-year-old boy who flew in from the US - has been confirmed.

The boy was admitted to a private hospital on Monday morning and discharged after treatment, said health ministry spokesman Fidel Hadebe.

Laboratory tests came back positive on Thursday for the H1N1 virus.

While there have been nearly 30 cases of swine flu in Egypt and several in Morocco, this is the first known case of the virus in sub-Saharan Africa.

Last week, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak a pandemic.

"The patient was kept in isolation and discharged after a few days in hospital. He is well and recovering in isolation at home," said Mr Hadebe in a statement.

Health officials have warned that countries in the southern hemisphere - which includes the bulk of sub-Saharan Africa - could see a leap in cases of H1N1 because they are currently heading into winter and the height of flu season.

Northern hemisphere countries are bracing for a surge in swine flu when their winter begins later this year.

Correspondents say South Africa has good medical facilities well-equipped to deal with any swine flu epidemic.

Swine flu has infected some 40,000 people in more than 70 countries and killed 167 since detected in Mexico in April, says the WHO.

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