Johannesburg — The Death Toll From Swine Flu known scientifically as the A(H1N1) pandemic influenza virus -- has risen to 83 in SA, the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) said yesterday.
The NICD said at least 11726 people had been infected with swine flu in SA. The first case was confirmed in Johannesburg by the Department of Health in June.
Prof Barry Schoub, director of the NICD, said the death toll was still very low compared to the number of people infected with the virus. "Thousands of people have been infected so far but only 83 have died," he said.
Schoub said the death rate was likely to rise in the next winter season, but "we hope by then we would have developed a vaccine to prevent the spread".
He said 60 deaths were confirmed by the National Health Laboratory Service, and 23 by private sector laboratories.
In the NICD's preliminary report, 59% of the patients who died were female and 41% were male. Twenty-four of those who died were pregnant.
Twenty-three patients who died were both diabetic and obese, 16 had tested HIV-positive, eight had heart disease and six had tuberculosis.
Schoub said HIV, diabetes, obesity and pregnancy were some of the risk factors in swine flu.