25-year-old woman Egypt's first swine flu victim

Yasmine Saleh
3 Min Read

CAIRO: Egyptian Minister of Health, Hatem El-Gabaly said on Sunday that Egypt’s first H1N1 flu death was mainly due to the patient’s heart problems.

In an official statement El-Gabaly announced the death of a 25-year-old Egyptian woman who recently returned to Egypt from Saudi Arabia where she was on Umrah pilgrimage in Mecca.

The deceased had traveled to Saudi Arabia on June 6. She had arrived to Egypt on July 16, but her case was not detected by the thermal detectors at the airport because when she had first experienced flu-like symptoms in Saudi Arabia a few days before, she was taken to a hospital in Medina where she was given medication that decreased her temperature, according to El-Gabaly.

Her condition got worse when she arrived to her hometown in Menufiya, so she was transferred to a hospital in Gharbeya where the doctors tested her for H1N1 and reported the case directly to the ministry.

“But the patient had heart problems which led to swift deterioration. She suffered from pneumonia and died two days later, El-Gabaly said.

Amr Kandil, deputy health minister for precautionary measures, said that the ministry is keeping an eye on the 15 people who interacted with the deceased for 10 days to make sure they did not catch the virus.

El-Gabaly said that he will discuss further precautionary measures against H1N1 during the Eastern Mediterranean Health Ministers conference next Wednesday.

He added that he had spoken to the Saudi Arabian Minister of Health and asked him to call for an urgent meeting with other Arab officials in the health sector to discuss this year’s Umrah and Hajj pilgrimage arrangements.

Last month El-Gabaly suggested canceling this year’s pilgrimage trips to avoid the escalation of H1N1 flu, but his proposal was challenged by Minister of Tourism Zoheir Garranah and Al-Azhar’s Grand Sheikh Mohamed Sayed Tantawy.

“We warned against the danger of these pilgrimage trips but nobody listened to us, El-Gabaly said.

Also on Sunday, the ministry announced 10 new cases of H1N1 flu, all recent arrivals from abroad, raising the total number of cases to 130.

Internationally, on Monday Australia reported 30 more deaths from the virus while South Korea reported 38 new cases.

A statement made by the World Health Organization, last week indicated that the H1N1 flu is spreading rapidly and that the organization will not be able to keep track of all cases.

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