733 new swine flu cases leave 20 dead

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CAIRO: A total of 733 new cases of the H1N1 virus (swine flu) have been found in Egypt, with 20 resulting deaths, between Jan. 3 and Jan. 8, according to the latest press statement released by the Ministry of Health on Monday.

The total numbers is slightly less than last week’s 838 cases and 24 deaths. However, Spokesperson for the Ministry of Health Abdel Rahman Shahin stated that they are expecting a high number of H1N1 virus cases to continue through the end of January before reported cases start to significantly decrease.

Ever since the H1N1 virus started to reappear in Egypt last October, there have been a total of 3,214 cases. Shahin stated that the rate of swine flu increase in Egypt is within the normal range of seasonal flu, noting that during the same period last year, from October 2009 to January 2010, there were 14,846 reported swine flu cases.

Shahin advised everyone who feels flu-like symptoms to immediately report to a doctor — especially children, the elderly, pregnant women, and those who already suffer from other chronic diseases.

The 20 people who died from swine flu this week are among the disease’s high risk groups, which have accounted for 73.4 percent of H1N1-related fatalities until now. High risk groups include pregnant women and those with diabetes or chronic diseases that affect the heart, lungs, liver or kidneys.

There are 450 hospitals around the country that are monitoring swine flu activity.

Shahin added that Tamiflu is available at all public hospitals for free, and that it can also be purchased at private pharmacies for LE 70.

Deputy Minister of Health for Precautionary Affairs Nasr El Sayed advised all citizens to take full precautionary measures against the H1N1 virus during the upcoming period. These include habitually washing hands, ensuring proper ventilation at the workplace and at home, covering the nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing, and avoiding crowded places.


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