At least 50 deadly swine flu cases reported in Russia

A laboratory worker handles a vial containing swine flu virus in St. Petersburg (AFP Photo/Kirill Sirotyuk)
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Moscow (AFP) - At least 50 people have died of swine flu in Russia since last month, according to AFP calculations based on data from regional health authorities, as the virus seems to gain ground in the country.

Health authorities in the southern region of Rostov told RIA Novosti state news agency on Monday that an additional two people had succumbed to the virus, bringing the region's swine flu death toll to eight.

Officials in the nearby Volgograd region meanwhile have said that at least 11 people have died of swine flu.

These latest cases follow the deaths of four adults and one child from the virus in the North Caucasus region of Dagestan, and the deaths of two infected patients in Yekaterinburg in the Urals and one in the southern region of Adygea.

A first deadly case of swine flu was also reported this week in Crimea, the Black Sea peninsula Russia annexed from Ukraine in March 2014.

Swine flu deaths have also been reported in the Bryank, Belgorod and Vladimir regions, among others.

Russian health minister Veronika Skvortsova said Monday that the swine flu situation in the country was "completely under control."

As of Friday, 18 deadly swine flu cases had been reported in the former Soviet republic of Armenia since the start of the year.

Authorities in neighbouring Georgia meanwhile said they had recorded three deadly cases of the virus.

In nearby Iran, swine flu has left 112 dead and put more than 1,000 people in hospital since mid-November, authorities said late last month.

A major outbreak of the H1N1 virus sparked a World Health Organization pandemic alert in June 2009, after it emerged from Mexico and the United States.

The outbreak killed around 18,500 people in 214 countries. The alert was lifted in August 2010.