The number of Russians who have contracted swine flu has risen to 12, Russia`s top sanitary official, Gennady Onishchenko told RIA Novosti.

"A pregnant woman who returned from her holiday in Bulgaria has contracted swine flu. Also her two-year 11-month old daughter and another Moscow citizen have contracted the virus," Onishchenko said.

According to Onishchenko, three more Russians from Perm who travelled to Turkey and stayed in the same hotel are also suspected to have swine flu. A 14-year-old girl from the Tomsk Region, who recently returned from the U.K., is another of the suspected cases which have yet to be officially confirmed.

Onishchenko added that a proposal by the World Health Organization (WHO) to delay the start of the academic year late as a measure to slow the spread of swine flu has received approval. Onishchenko said many children go on holiday prior to the start of the school year, and by delaying their return to school could lessen the risk of spreading the virus within Russia.

The top health official said all the patients diagnosed with swine flu in Russia had all recently returned from vacations or business trips abroad, mainly from Spain.

He also said those diagnosed with the virus had been hospitalized, but none of them were in a serious condition.

According to the World Health Organization there are 94,512 officially registered swine flu cases and 429 deaths in 135 countries and territories worldwide. The WHO also reported that the A/H1N1 virus has killed more than 700 people around the world since the outbreak began four months ago.

RIA Novosti