HEWLÊR-Erbil, Iraq’s Kurdistan region,— Kurdistan Regional Government Minister of Health Saman Hussein Muhammad said on Monday that twenty cases of H1N1 influenza virus have been registered in Iraqi Kurdistan Region this season, three of which were in Sulaimani governorate.
There have been three fatalities so far.
None of the deceased were originally from the Kurdistan Region.
“First of all, I want to say that swine flu was eradicated [in the Region] a couple of years back.
What we have now is the seasonal flu that is called H1N1,” Muhammad said.
The H1N1 influenza virus has several strains, one of which is commonly referred to as swine flu that caused a global pandemic a decade ago, while others are seasonal strains endemic to humans.
“We have investigated the matter and have alerted all the directorates in the Region that a big campaign for awareness and prevention measures needs to be taken because the virus can be transferred and spread easily and it is airborne,” Muhammad said.
“Three people have died, but they were from outside and were visiting the Kurdistan Region and were carrying the virus before [they arrived],” he added.
The three people who died were from Nineveh, Shargat in Saladin governorate, and Syria respectively.
“We have established a health operation room and created isolated quarters for patients infected with the virus.
We have also published two sets of awareness regulations, one for hospitals and one for the public,” he said.
The Minister advised those who fall ill with the virus to isolate themselves and stay away from crowded places.
A vaccine for the virus is available at all health centers in Iraqi Kurdistan and is available to the public.
Pregnant women in particular are urged to get vaccinated.
Four cases of swine flu have been recorded by a hospital in Sulaimani city, an official said on Saturday.
Director of Shar Hospital in Sulaimani city Omed Ali said that four cases of swine flu H1N1 virus have been recorded by a hospital.
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