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News number: 8806111417

17:03 | 2009-09-02


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Iran's Swine Flu Cases Rise to 328

TEHRAN (FNA)- The health ministry announced on Wednesday that the number of Iranians infected with swine flu virus (H1N1) reached 328.

The health ministry officials also announced that swine flu took its second toll in Iran, this time a 96-year-old man. Iran reported on August 26 that H1N1 virus has caused death of a 36-year-old female drug addict who was the first officially-announced victim of swine flu in Iran.

To slow down a pandemic in the country, Iranian authorities have banned pilgrims from travelling to Mecca in Saudi Arabia during the current holy month of Ramadan.

Iran has also placed restrictions on sending pilgrims to the annual hajj rituals expected to begin on November 19.

Iranians over the age of 65 and children under 12 are banned from Hajj pilgrimage this year, and officials have underlined that they would halve the number of pilgrims to hajj rituals this year.

Two weeks ago, the Iranian Health Ministry announced that swine flu pandemic has slowed down in Iran after the country stopped pilgrimage trips to Saudi Arabia.

Meantime, World Health Organization Director General Margaret Chan announced that Swine flu spreads four times faster than other viruses and 40 percent of the fatalities are young adults in good health.

"This virus travels at an unbelievable, almost unheard of speed," he told France's Le Monde daily in an interview.

"In six weeks it travels the same distance that other viruses take six months to cover," Chan said.

"Sixty percent of the deaths cover those who have underlying health problems," Chan said. "This means that 40 percent of the fatalities concern young adults -- in good health -- who die of a viral fever in five to seven days."

"This is the most worrying fact," she said, adding that "up to 30 percent of people in densely populated countries risked getting infected," he added.