Egypt reports 10th Swine Flu death
CAIRO: Egypt on Sunday reported the 10th death from the deadly H1N1 influenza virus, commonly known as the Swine flu, as Egypt continues to witness the spread of the disease. The 48-year-old woman died in a local hospital on Saturday night, the country’s health ministry reported.
According to a ministry official, the woman suffered from a high fever, asthma and diabetes, which could have resulted in her death as the flu exacerbated the condition.
There have been approximately 3,000 reported Swine flu cases in the North African country since it was first discovered in June after a young Egyptian-American girl arrived in the country via The Netherlands.
Across Egypt, fears remain high of a major outbreak of the virus and in Alexandria, at least 6 schools have been closed after cases of the H1N1 virus were discovered. Earlier this fall, Egypt postponed opening public schools for fear of the students causing a pandemic. They then opened, but are currently running on two three-day schedules for students in an attempt to limit the exposure to students.
Out of the 10 reported deaths, 9 have been women, which has sparked concern among health authorities in the country over treatment and education of the population.
Egyptian leaders are hoping to distribute the H1N1 vaccine to pilgrims traveling to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, to perform the annual Hajj pilgrimage at the end of November.
Officials are hoping that by vaccinating pilgrims, they will avoid a fresh outbreak of the disease, which could be calamitous as around three million people converge in Mecca. The major concern for the Egyptian government is that pilgrims returning from Saudi Arabia having contracted the virus and spreading it among local communities.
The first reported death last summer was a woman who allegedly contracted the virus after her husband had returned home from Saudi after conducting the “lesser” pilgrimage, or Omrah.
Arab health ministers met last summer after the initial outbreak have attempted to establish restrictions on those traveling to Saudi Arabia, including banning young children and the elderly from taking part in the annual pilgrimage, much to the outrage of Muslims globally.