By Kim Landers in Mexico City for AM
ABC NEWS

Mexico’s deadly swine flu outbreak is on the brink of sparking a global pandemic, but there is still confusion about how many people have died from the virus.

Mexico’s Government has confirmed 260 people have swine flu but only 12 have died. The confirmed total is a long way short of the 180-plus suspected deaths in the country.

In Mexico City, mobile health clinics have sprung up to deal with people who feel sick.

One caravan is parked near the historic city centre and hundreds of people, including Jessica Avanto, have lined up to see the doctor.

Ms Avanto describes her three-year-old son’s symptoms. She says he has a runny nose and a cough.

The toddler is wearing a face mask and is playing happily with his Incredible Hulk action figure but his mother says he has been sick for days.

An interpreter says Ms Avanto is hopeful her son does not have the virus.

“He hasn’t had a fever and it’s an important symptom,” he said. “But she’s worried about it and that’s why she came here.”

The swine flu outbreak began more than a week ago but the mobile health clinic has only been running for two days.

Leopoldo Llanos has a sore throat and a cold and he is lining up as well.

An interpreter says Mr Llanos has been sick since Monday.

“He says he’s really worried and was walking past the clinic when he decided to stop,” he said.

“He says he went to one of the main hospitals in Mexico City but they told him they could only treat him if he had all the symptoms. Because he doesn’t have a fever, they turned him away.”

Fabian Ismael Villasenor is the doctor who is seeing patients at the clinic after they have had their temperatures checked by an assistant and described their symptoms too.

“The clinic is trying to reduce panic, to focus on prevention and education, but is also checking if people have swine flu and if they do, to send them to hospital,” he said through an interpreter.

He says he has not seen anyone with swine flu, nor does he expect to see many people who have the virus.

Mexico’s President Felipe Calderon is urging people to stay home over the next five days in a bid to halt the spread of swine flu.

Only essential businesses, such as supermarkets, hospitals and chemists will stay open.

And only critical government workers, such as police and soldiers, will be on duty.

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