Egypt reports 11th Swine flu death as promises of local Tamiflu made

Egypt reports 11th Swine flu death as promises of local Tamiflu made

The Egyptian health ministry reported on Tuesday the 11th death as a result of the H1N1 influenza virus, or Swine flu. According to ministry spokesman Abdel Rahman Shahine, a 24-year-old pregnant woman passed away after she was taken to a local hospital after suffering from fever and pneumonia.

The death comes as Egypt announced it would be producing its own Tamiflu locally in order to combat the growing the surge in victims in recent weeks. The ministry said that the Egyptian-made product would cost 75 Egyptian pounds ($14).

Health Minister Hatem el-Gabali said on Tuesday that Egypt will produce the Tamiflu vaccine for both Avian and Swine flu patients, explaining that it will import raw materials from different bodies accredited by the World Health Organization. The minister confirmed that the price of the virus testing in Private labs in the country would cost some 800 Egyptian pounds ($145).

Gabali stated during the fourth session of the 6th development of health services conference in Sharm El Sheikh that “strategic stockpiles of Tamiflu available in the ministry , are enough,” pointing out that the epidemic situation of the disease is “stable and the death rate did not exceed three per one thousand, less than a quarter of the death rate in countries the world.”

He also confirmed that the ministry continues to conduct the virus tests for free to selected groups of citizens in need, stressing that “not all the labs are equipped to conduct such tests, especially the provision of reagents used to make the testing possible,” explaining that allowing private labs the ability to make these tests does not mean that the ministry will give up conducting such examinations.

He stressed that the ministry will give the infected Tamiflu for free within and outside the hospitals run by the ministry, meaning that some people will be given Tamiflu without being held in hospital. It is part of the ministry’s efforts to help create a means to treat as many individuals as possible.

The ministry warned laboratories against the public declaration of the results of the tests they give, noting the need to inform the ministry of positive results before going public and to “be approved by a consultant physician or specialist who holds a doctorate degree” from the ministry.

Egypt has seen more than 3,000 H1N1, or Swine flu, cases since it was first discovered in the country last June. At least 11 people have died from the disease, but the ministry says its efforts to curtail the spread of the virus are “having results.” The Avian flu, or bird flu, has been more detrimental to Egypt, with dozens of people dying from the deadly virus since it first arrived in the country in early 2006.

Egypt is a major gateway for air-born diseases as it lies on the cusp of three continents and is a major migratory stop for birds. The ministry, and global health officials, fear a mutated form of Avian and H1N1 into a virus that could ravage the population.