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Worldwide Death Toll From Swine Flu Surpasses 700: WHO

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The global death toll from the H1N1 swine flu outbreak has now surpassed 700, according to the World Health Organization, an increase of some 300 deaths since the start of the month, the Associated Press reported.

But the WHO says it doesn't know how many cases there are worldwide because it stopped asking countries to report infections last week. Instead, the agency is focusing on countries reporting infection outbreaks for the first time.

WHO spokeswoman Aphaluck Bhatiasevi said the Geneva, Switzerland-based agency is examining various measures that countries can take to slow the spread of the disease. School closures could be among the recommendations, but it's up to each country to consider appropriate steps for their situations, the AP said.

Health officials worldwide say that infections with H1N1 swine flu continue to be mild for the most part, with patients recovering quickly.

In the United States, there have been 40,617 cases of infection and 263 deaths, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which now updates its figures once a week, on Fridays.

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