CAIRO: The Ministry of Health has announced that the number of swine flu cases in Egypt has reached 16,053, out of which 268 have died since the A(H1N1) virus first appeared in the country last June.
The total number includes 5,589 cases among school students and 862 university students.
The latest virus-related death was that of a 39-year-old woman from Beheira governorate on Monday, according to Abdel Rahman Shahin, spokesman of the Ministry of Health.
Seventy-nine percent of swine-flu related deaths were patients of chronic illnesses and pregnant women.
More than 97 percent of the reported cases have recovered.
In a related note, Amr Kandil, deputy minister of health for preventive medicine, announced that everyone traveling to Saudi Arabia to perform Umrah pilgrimage, has to be vaccinated against swine flu, in addition to the other mandatory vaccinations – seasonal flu and meningitis.
This upcoming Umrah season marks the celebration of Prophet Mohamed’s birthday.
Around the country, the rate of swine flu cases reported has been declining and will continue to do so until April, Shahin said. However, the ministry is still on alert for a new wave of the virus expected in March. The highest number of swine flu cases was reported in the last week of December.
The World Health Organization confirmed the decline in the number of cases in its situation update released Friday, Feb. 12. “In North Africa, pandemic influenza transmission persists but substantial declines in activity have been observed over the past month across the region.
“In Morocco, levels of ILI [Influenza-Like Illness] have returned to near baseline, and in Egypt, the number of confirmed cases has declined considerably, WHO said in the update.