Egypt says Swine flu cases on the decline
|Thursday, February 11,2010 22:15|
Egypt’s health ministry has said that cases of the H1N1 virus, or Swine flu, are declining and that this will continue through April. Despite the optimism of the report, Abdel Rahman Shahine, the ministry’s spokesman, did say that there could be a rise in the number of cases in the Spring, pointing that experts are going to be monitoring March for any signs of an increase in cases.
With March, and the changing of seasons, the ministry says they cannot guarantee that Egypt will continue this decline, but is hopeful that through April, the rate of infection would decline.
According to ministry statistics, some 16,000 people have been infected by the virus, which first appeared last summer in Mexico. At least 262 people have died as a result of the deadly flu.
These numbers include the 5,581 cases among school students, 859 university students and 9,531 from outside educational institutions.
At the end of December, dozens of deaths were reported, which left many fearful of an outbreak in the country. But, by January, the threat had subsided and the ministry reported the situation was under control.
Nearly 97 percent of all infected people in Egypt have recovered without problem. According to the ministry, some 42 patients are currently being treated in hospitals around the country.
The vast majority of swine flu cases have appeared in the most urban centers such as Cairo (41.3 percent ) and Alexandria (10.3 percent). Minister of Health Hatem el-Gabaly said this is due to the nature of the virus being “an urban virus,” meaning it hits heavily populated areas more than rural villages.
Local newspapers said 79 percent of swine flu related deaths were patients of chronic illnesses, especially respiratory illnesses, and pregnant women. The influenza virus is especially dangerous to those with asthma due to the attack on the lungs.
In an update released on February 5, the World Health Organization (WHO) said that “in North Africa, pandemic influenza transmission remains active and geographically widespread but overall activity has been declining since peaking during late December 2009 and early January 2010.
“During January 2010, a substantial decline in the number of pandemic virus isolations and new cases was observed in Morocco and Egypt, respectively,” it said.