News ID: 262379
Published: 0201 GMT December 02, 2019

Flu epidemic claims dozens of lives in Iran: Health Ministry

Flu epidemic claims dozens of lives in Iran: Health Ministry

A senior Iranian Health Ministry official said that an ongoing influenza epidemic has claimed the lives of 56 people since its outbreak more than a couple of months ago.

"Due to the influenza, 273 individuals have been hospitalized and 19 have lost their lives" in the past week alone, said Alireza Raisi, the deputy health minister as reported by Press TV.

The health deputy added that all of the disease's victims have so far been among aged individuals or people which had been suffering from underlying disorders.

"As the Health Ministry had previously announced, not all individuals need to be vaccinated for the disease and only people with underlying disorders such as diabetes, lung disease and pregnant women are advised to do so," Raisi said.

"This wave will continue for another two weeks during which it may even become more widespread, but it will diminish afterwards," he added.

According to Iranian health officials, two different strains of flu, H1N1 and H3N2, are currently spreading across the country in an epidemic which has appeared two weeks earlier than the annual flu season.

Mohammad Mehdi Gouya, head of the Iranian Health Ministry's center for infectious diseases, says that his ministry has been preparing for the outbreak and has stockpiled needed medical and specifically vaccine supplies to deal with the outbreak.

Davoud Yadegari, a medical expert in Tehran's Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, says deaths related to influenza happen regularly ever year in the country.

He added, however, that "it seems deaths are higher this year due to different reasons such as genetic mutations in the virus and an early decrease in temperature".

In 2009, a major swine flu pandemic affected major parts of the world and lead to the death of what researchers say may have led to the death of as much as half a million people worldwide.

The World Health Organization declared the end of the epidemic in late 2010.               


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