Swine flu is striking more people severely as the death toll rises and six pregnant women struggle for their lives in hospital with the disease.
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16 Jul 2009 - 9:07 AM  UPDATED 23 Aug 2013 - 11:52 AM

The number of Australians severely affected with swine flu is continuing to rise, with pregnant women among those struggling for their lives in hospital, reports say.

Six pregnant women were on life support because of the disease, SkyNews reported.

The death toll from the virus rose to 22 on Wednesday after Brisbane woman, 38 and an Adelaide man, 32, succumbed with the disease.

According to the Department of Health's website, there are now 10,389 cases across the nation.

The 38-year-old woman was the first Queenslander to die after contracting the swine flu virus.

She died around noon on Wednesday at Brisbane's Mater Hospital after being admitted a week ago.

Queensland's chief health officer Jeannette Young said the woman was in a vulnerable group but declined to comment further out of respect for the family.

"It appears that the woman was in a vulnerable group with regard to this disease," Dr Young said.

"Anyone who falls into a vulnerable group is at a higher risk of suffering complications from swine flu and our focus is now on protecting these groups of people."

Those who are most vulnerable are indigenous people, pregnant women and people with respiratory disease, heart disease, renal and liver disease, obesity and immunosuppression.

Another 433 swine flu cases were reported in Queensland on Tuesday and Wednesday, lifting the state's total to 2769.

Of these 21 are in hospital, six of them in intensive care.