Posted June. 18, 2009 08:14,
A mutated version of the H1N1 flu virus was found in Brazil yesterday. Named Influenza A/Sao Paulo/H1N1, the variant was isolated from a virus collected from a patient at the Adolfo Lutz Institute in Sao Paulo.
Whether the new variant is more dangerous than the original strain remains unclear, though the World Health Organization has declared a pandemic.
Virologists and health officials are on high alert because of the possibility that the new variant could cause deaths and are keeping a close eye on further mutations. The Spanish flu that killed more than 50 million people worldwide in 1918 was a mutated virus.
Vaccines are in short supply in Latin America, where fears are growing that influenza A will spread fast since winter is approaching there.
The number of people infected with the virus is growing in the region, with Mexico reporting 6,294, Chile 3,125 and Argentina 733. The World Health Organization said 36,000 people from 76 countries have contracted the virus.