Egypt confirms 22nd Swine flu death
|Thursday, December 3,2009 17:40|
|By Mohamed Abdel Salam|
Egypt’s health ministry confirmed that a 53-year-old man has died from the H1N1 influenza virus, or Swine flu, pushing the total number of related deaths in the country to 22. According to ministry spokesman Abdel Rahman Shahin, the man was suffering from kidney failure.
Ali Mohamed Rashad had been admitted to Al Salam Hospital, a private hospital in upper class Maadi suburb of Cairo on Wednesday, November 25.
He was allegedly in critical condition, suffering respiratory problems. The man was put on a ventilator upon admittance, but succumbed to the virus.
The death comes after the ministry reported on Sunday morning the country’s 21st death. According to the ministry, a 28-year-old man from Helwan, just south of Cairo, passed away after he was taken to Humiyyat Hospital on November 23 after suffering from severe respiratory problems and was put on a respirator.
But he died on Sunday and the laboratory of the ministry confirmed that he had been suffering from the H1N1 virus after the test results came back positive.
The ministry said that the man suffered from excessive obesity, as well as the presence of a tumor on the adrenal gland, which pushed the illness to the final stages and ultimately resulted in his death.
His death raised the number of those killed from the Swine flu in Egypt to 21 after three other cases reportedly died on Saturday, including one case in Alexandria, as widespread fears of a possible outbreak during winter, especially during December and January, continues to grow.
Despite the growing number of deaths, the ministry remains optimistic of the country’s outlook with the virus.
Amr Kandil, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Health for Preventive Affairs, stressed that the virus has not mutated and said that the high rate of infection per day is not indicative of a mutation. However, Awad Mahgour, Director of Communicable Diseases at the World Health Organization stressed that the virus has already mutated in a number of countries, “but slowly and in a restricted context.”
For his part, Kandil said in a press statement, that high rates of infection and the rise in the number of infected people during the months of December and January are expected to rise due to the onset of winter. He said that the influenza outbreak “might calm with the start of February” and described the death rate of Swine Flu in Egypt as “reassuring,” because it didn’t exceed the world average.
“That the death rate in Egypt is 6 out of every thousand cases, while the world average is 13 per thousand cases,” is a positive sign, he said.
The undersecretary added that all the deaths recorded by the Ministry of Health are people who originally had been suffering from chronic diseases such as pneumonia, asthma, hepatitis, tumors or were pregnant, which means that “these cases died as a result from the complications of the disease and not the infection itself.”
The WHO argued that the virus is already mutating and has been recorded in more than one country from Norway to France, but this mutation, he says, “is progressing slowly and is not resistant to available drugs and vaccines such as Tamiflu.” The WHO also expects to see a rise in the infection rate during winter, which are traditionally flu months.
To date, Egypt has seen well over 3,000 reported cases of the deadly Swine flu.