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Three people have died in Romania and Macedonia after being infected with the H1N1 influenza strain known as swine flu, the two countries' health ministries said Thursday.

"Two people have died from the H1N1 flu," Romania's state secretary of health, Alexandru Rafila, announced on private TV network Antena 3. The victims were a 55-year old woman and a 61-year old man.

"But we cannot in any way talk about a flu outbreak," he said.

In a separate announcement, Macedonian authorities said a 62-year old man had died after falling ill with the virus last week. It added that since Monday, 14 people have been infected with swine flu in Macedonia.

In 2009, an H1N1 epidemic erupted in Mexico and spread into a worldwide pandemic that caused at least 18,500 deaths.

In 1997, the H5N1 strain of influenza, commonly known as bird flu, broke out in Hong Kong.

Source: Agence France-Presse