ROME, April 29 (Xinhua) -- Italy has found some 20 suspected cases so far of swine flu and has closely monitored those cases in order to determine whether they were caused by the A/H1N1 virus from Mexico, Welfare Undersecretary Ferruccio Fazio said on Wednesday.
At present tests have not confirmed that they are cases of the new flu, the minister added.
Earlier in the day Fazio, who holds the portfolio for health, downplayed the threat of new flu, saying he was optimistic "because this virus does not appear to be very aggressive."
"Of course, there is always the risk of a mutation, but from what we have seen in the United States this flu is less aggressive than a normal winter influenza," he was quoted by Italy's ANSA News Agency.
But the minister said later that it was useless now to be vaccinated with last winter's vaccine, which in any case was almost finished, according to the ANSA.
Doctors have noted that people catching the new flu are mostly youths and adults who, unlike young children and the elderly, are not included to get seasonal flu shots.
Researchers around the world are currently working on a specific vaccine for the new flu virus, which is apparently a mutated combination of swine, bird and human flu.
On Wednesday, the first flu death outside Mexico was reported in Texas. The 160th victim of new flu was said to be a 23-month Mexican child who lived across the border in Texas.
The European Union on Wednesday said there were seven confirmed cases of new flu and 104 suspected cases in Europe.
Three of the confirmed cases were in Germany while Spain and Britain each had two cases, the ANSA reported.