The global death toll from swine flu has risen to 15,174, up 463 from a week ago, but the pandemic is steadily losing momentum around the world, the World Health Organisation said on Friday.

"As of 31 January 2010, worldwide more than 209 countries and overseas territories or communities have reported laboratory confirmed cases of pandemic influenza H1N1 2009, including at least 15,174 deaths," the WHO said.

According to the latest bulletin from the UN health agency, the Americas have recorded the biggest number of fatalities with at least 7,261 deaths from the A(H1N1) virus, while Europe has recorded at least 3,605 fatalities.

At least 3,127 people have died from the virus in the east Asia and west Pacific region, WHO said.

But the spread of the virus continued to decline or remain low across most of the world - from the temperate northern hemisphere to North Africa and Asia - after having peaked between October and December 2009.