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Page last updated at 08:37 GMT, Wednesday, 24 June 2009 09:37 UK

Mystery Aborigine swine flu death

By Nick Bryant
BBC News, Sydney

H1N1 bacteria
The World Health Organisation says the virus has spread to pandemic levels

Officials in Australia are trying to determine how an Aboriginal man caught and then died from swine flu.

The 26-year-old man became Australia's first person to die after testing positive for the virus.

He had been living in Kiwirrkurra, one of the country's most remote Outback communities.

Australia officials are worried that Aborigines are at higher risk from swine flu because they already suffer high disease rates.

A team of health workers has travelled to Kiwirrkurra, located some 600km (375 miles) west of Alice Springs in the arid Gibson Desert.

They are keen to determine how the swine flu virus reached such a far-off location.

In the past week the number of confirmed cases doubled in the Northern Territory, where Aborigines make up almost one-third of the population.

There are now 61 cases in the territory, with three children admitted to hospital in Alice Springs.

The government said it was working to boost supplies of anti-viral drugs in indigenous communities.



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