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PA health ministry: Swine flu death toll reaches 9

Dec. 29, 2012 7:02 P.M. (Updated: Dec. 30, 2012 10:28 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Nine people have died in the West Bank after contracting swine flu with 187 cases of the H1N1 virus recorded, the Palestinian Authority Health Ministry said Saturday.

The majority of the cases are in the northern West Bank, especially Jenin, with other cases in Ramallah, Bethlehem and southern Hebron, minister of health Hani Abdeen said during a meeting with PA prime minister Salam Fayyad.

General director of primary health care in the ministry, Asad Ramlawi, told Ma'an that the victims generally had a weak immune system or were suffering from other conditions. The majority of people have gone to hospital and been treated for the virus, he said.

Those at higher risk are children, the elderly, patients with chronic illnesses and pregnant women, Abdeen said, stressing the need for vulnerable patients to visit a health center as soon as symptoms appear.

The PA health ministry has doubled its efforts to combat the virus and is providing the necessary medicines and testing kits free of charge.

The vaccinations, diagnosis, and treatment, including overnight stay in government hospitals, are done in accordance with the protocols recommended by the World Health Organization, and 25,000 people have been vaccinated so far, Abdeen added.
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