Spain is the first European country to confirm a case of swine flu, as authorities confirmed on Monday that a man who returned from Mexico last week was found to have the virus.

The swine flu outbreak has killed more than 100 people in Mexico and is starting to cause concern amongst populations around the world.

19 suspected cases of swine flu in SpainSuspected swine flu cases in Spain have been reported in Albacete, Bilbao, Valencia, Barcelona, Girona, Aragon and Cadiz.

Health experts in Madrid are still testing to see whether or not the individuals have swine flu or not. In the meantime the patients are receiving an anti-viral treatment recommened by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

H1N1 is a subtype of the species influenza A virus. The “H” refers to the hemagglutinin protein, and the “N” refers to the neuraminidase protein. H1N1 has mutated into various strains including the Spanish Flu strain (now extinct in the wild), mild human flu strains, endemic pig strains, and various strains found in birds. A variant of H1N1 was responsible for the Spanish flu pandemic that killed some 50 million to 100 million people worldwide from 1918 to 1919.

Health authorities across the country are advising anyone with flu symptoms who has recently travelled to the affected areas to report to their local health centre immediately or to call 902 505 060.