Swine Flu Shuts Down Philippines Legislature For 5 Days

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MANILA, Philippines (AP) -- The Philippine House of Representatives suspended operations for five days after news that the country's first H1N1 flu-related fatality worked at the legislature. Australia reported its second swine flu-related death, the third for the Asia-Pacific region.

Hong Kong elementary schools and kindergartens cut the school year short, and Malaysia shuttered another school in efforts to contain the spread of the pandemic flu virus.

Philippine House Speaker Prospero Nograles ordered the suspension of the legislature Tuesday after officials confirmed the 49-year-old woman with the flu, who died Friday, worked for a congressional committee. The legislature building will be sanitized, said Mr. Nograles.

Ramon Ricardo Roque, the House deputy secretary-general for administration, said the woman had attended a committee seminar June 15 and 16. She also traveled to northern Kalinga province on June 11 to 14.

A second House employee, a man, is recovering from the virus, Mr. Roque said.

Many Philippine lawmakers were already away, because the House is in recess until July 27. However, the suspension shuts down committee hearings and closes staff offices open during the recess.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said some relatives and co-workers of the woman, who died of heart failure but also was infected with the virus, were in quarantine.

The Philippines confirmed 28 more infections, bringing the country's total to 473.

In Australia, a 35-year-old man with a range of medical problems died in a Melbourne hospital Saturday after seeking help for a flu-like illness Friday, an official said.

Swabs were taken and later tested positive for swine flu, said Rosemary Lester, acting chief health officer for Victoria state.

On Friday, a 26-year-old man with multiple ailments including the H1N1 virus died at a hospital in the southern city of Adelaide. Authorities aren't certain in either case that swine flu was the main cause of death. Australia had 2,733 confirmed cases of swine flu by Tuesday.

Malaysia's Health Ministry said it closed a third school as 10 new cases were reported. The new patients raised the total number of victims to 68. Health Minister Liow Tiong Lai said a private school was shut down after an infected student who had returned from Australia transmitted the virus to another student.

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