Last updated: 1 may, 2009 - 15:41 GMT

Swine flu: what we know

The World Health Organisation has raised the alert level for the outbreak of swine flu indicating that a pandemic is imminent.

However, while this new swine flu virus continues to spread slowly around the world, the number of confirmed deaths caused by it remains quite low.

The BBC's Matt McGrath reports:

An image taken through a microscope, provided by the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, shows the H1N1 strain of the swine flu virus

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What was once one of the noisiest, dirtiest, busiest places in the world, has become strangely sterile; a quiet city, where many people wear masks outdoors, and most don't go out.

The outbreak is costing a fortune.

In Mexico City alone, the mayor, Marcelo Ebrard, has put the figure at $88m a day.

But how much will swine flu hit the wider Mexican economy?

The BBC's Economics Correspondent Andrew Walker reports.

Women wearing surgical masks pray at the normally busy Zocalo central square in Mexico City

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The Egyptian government has announced that they intend to cull all the country's pigs as a precautionary measure to protect the country from swine flu.

Egypt has been hit hard by the highly pathogenic bird flu virus, from which 33 people have died in just the last week.

Experts fear any flu pandemic can spread quickly in Egypt with a devastating impact in the overcrowded slums in and around Cairo, from where the BBC's Christian Fraser reports.

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First broadcast 29-30 April 2009

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