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Swine flu spreads to France

PARIS, Apr 26 – French health authorities have found two suspected cases of swine flu in travellers returning from Mexico and others are expected to follow, the top health official said in an interview Sunday.


"We do have suspicions, but these have not been confirmed, about two people who have returned from Mexico," general health director Didier Houssin told Le Parisien newspaper.


"There will certainly not be a lack of other cases in the coming days because there have been a lot of flights and boat trips" from Mexico, he added.


"I would not rule out that a sick person, and therefore potentially contagious, could enter France."


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Up to 81 people in Mexico are believed to have died from the new multi-strain swine flu, which has also infected 10 people in the United States.


The World Health Organisation on Saturday declared a "public health emergency of international concern" following the outbreak and called on governments to step up surveillance of flu-like symptoms and severe pneumonia.


Meanwhile, ten New Zealand students who recently travelled to Mexico are "likely" to have contracted swine flu, Health Minister Tony Ryall said Sunday.


"Ministry of Health officials advise me there is no guarantee these students have swine influenza, but they consider it likely," the minister said.


The 10 were among a group of three teachers and 22 senior students from Rangitoto College in Auckland, who returned home Saturday after a three-week trip to Mexico.

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