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News number: 8806011303

17:01 | 2009-08-23

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Official: Half of Iran's Swine Flu Patients Infected in S. Arabia

TEHRAN (FNA)- Half of the 238 Iranian patients infected with H1N1 virus are pilgrims retuning from Saudi Arabia, an Iranian official said on Sunday, vowing that Iran would start mass-production of swine flu vaccine in one year.



"Half of the 238 Iranians infected with the swine flu are returnees from Hajj pilgrimage whose illness has been diagnosed and cured within the country," Hossein Hatami, a member of the Health Ministry's special committee for campaign against swine flu, told FNA.

Hatami also announced that Iran will be able to mass-produce the vaccine for swine flu next year, reminding that the country would export the vaccine to the Islamic countries after satiating domestic needs.

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

"About 60% of the people infected with swine flu type A were the people who had returned from Hajj pilgrimage and after cancelling the trips the speed of the disease's pandemic has slowed down," Deputy Director of the Health Ministry's Department for Controlling Contagious Diseases Mahmoud Nabavi said earlier this week.

Iran decided to cease flights to Saudi Arabia from August 11 due to a swine flu pandemic in the Arab country.

Nabavi also reiterated that the disease has taken no toll in the country.

Yet, he asked Iranians to keep more vigilant during the two remaining seasons, warning that people should expect a rapid and vast pandemic of swine flue in the cold season.

According to Iranian health officials, the confirmed cases of swine flue infection include individuals returning from the Hajj pilgrimage and trips to Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Syria, Iraq and the US.

Swine flu is a contagious respiratory disease which is a mixture of bird, pig and human genes. The virus can spread to people who have contact with infected pigs. It spreads when an infected person coughs or sneezes around someone else. People can become infected by touching something with the flu virus on it and then touching their mouth, nose, or eyes.

People can't get swine flu from eating pork or pork products. Eating properly cooked pork is safe. Cooking meat to an internal temperature of 160°F kills viruses and bacteria.

Symptoms of swine flu are similar to the common flu: fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue, and sometimes diarrhea and vomiting. Swine flu also can cause pneumonia, which can make it hard to breathe.