Brazilian health authorities announced Tuesday that they will strengthen measures against the AH1N1 strain of swine flu after a week in which 13 people died of the disease.

Most of the cases occurred in the country's southern region, where close to 1,800 people have been infected by the illness since January.

The Health Ministry confirmed that the incidence of the flu has increased over the past few weeks with the onset of winter in the Southern Hemisphere, which will continue until late September.

In the last eight days, nine people died from the AH1N1 flu virus in the state of Parana and another four in Rio Grande do Sul, regions located in the triple-border area where Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay converge.

According to authorities, the nation's southern region received over the last few days close to 2 million doses of vaccine for treating the virus, which will be distributed to groups considered "at risk": pregnant women, patients with chronic illnesses and children up to the age of 2. 

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