Escalating concern over a possible swine flu outbreak in Mexico, the Health Ministry on Tuesday said that six more deaths associated with the 2009 outbreak there have been officially confirmed by laboratory tests as related to the infection.
Mexico's top health official Javier Duarte said that a total of 210 people had died due to swine flu between 2009 and 2016.
"This shows that the facts of 2009, when we had a mortality rate in Mexico that exceeded that of any disease since the discovery of cholera, weren't an aberration," Duarte said.
The six new deaths confirmed on Tuesday bring the total since January to 62, according to figures released by the ministry. Four of the six were children, according to the statement.
Tight controls have been enforced around Mexico for a dozen years since it was devastated by the outbreak of swine flu, with last year's number of infection cases tied to the flu vaccine slightly lower than in 2012 and 2014.
The years leading up to the 2009 outbreak were fraught with false alarms and miscalculations that kept many people away from tainted drinking water, while spraying of schools used water laced with the virus. The outbreak swept the world, with hundreds of cases reported in countries that produced the vaccine, but Mexico was the center of the panic.
Over the next several months, dozens of people died and countless others fell ill.