Page last updated at 09:02 GMT, Tuesday, 12 May 2009 10:02 UK

Swine flu alarm 'shocks' Mexicans


Ross Cullen decided not to fly back to the UK when news of the flu broke

A student from Berkshire who is living in Mexico has said that many of the locals are "bemused" by the reaction in Europe to swine flu.

Ross Cullen, originally from Wokingham, is teaching English at a university 50 miles (80km) north of Mexico City.

The 21-year-old said there was little sign of the outbreak among locals.

The Mexican government says it believes the spread of the virus has peaked with the number of deaths at 56. Sixty-five cases have been confirmed in the UK.

Worldwide, there have been more than 5,200 confirmed cases of swine flu in some 30 countries.

'People in masks'

Mr Cullen, who has been in Mexico since September. said: "The majority of Mexicans don't know anyone who has it.

"It is [a handful] people in a country of 120 million.

Mr Cullen teaches English at the university in Mexico

"They can't believe the European reaction.

"They are saying 'did you know it was on the news in Spain the other day?'."

He added apart from a few people in masks, it was hard to find evidence of the deadly flu outbreak.

The student's family admit they had initial fears at the start of the outbreak, but say they trust him that the risk is low.

On Monday, a UK analysis concluded the World Health Organization was right to raise the alert over a potential global flu pandemic.

It says the latest outbreak is likely to be comparable to the pandemics of the 20th Century.

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