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News number: 8808101632

17:44 | 2009-11-01


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Health Minister: Swine Flu Vaccine Available in Winter

TEHRAN (FNA)- Iranian Minister of Health Marzieh Vahid Dastjerdi announced on Sunday that swine flu vaccine will be available for high-risk groups in Iran by March.

"With the allocation of Tomans 20 bln ($20 mln) of credit by the president, the swine flu vaccine will be purchased and imported into Iran in February or March and will be given to the people in need," Dastjerdi said on the sidelines of a forum here in Tehran today.

She also reiterated that three Iranian drug-manufacturing companies have already started production of vaccine for the H1N1 virus, and expressed the hope that home-made vaccines would enter the market by May 2010.

Dastjerdi predicted that 30% of the Iranian people will be infected with swine flu in the next two years.

Iran has, thus far, been much successful in preventing an outbreak of the disease which has claimed only 22 lives in the country.

The Iranian health ministry announced on Wednesday that the number of Iranians infected with the swine flu virus (H1N1) reached 1638.

Iran halted pilgrimage visits to Mecca in Saudi Arabia for several weeks in August in an effort to postpone a likely pandemic of the disease to get better prepared.

The ministry has advised people to adopt simple precautionary measures such as frequently washing hands, using a tissue to cover the mouth when coughing and sneezing and avoiding kissing to help contain the virus from spreading.

Iran ordered the closure of at least 620 schools in the country as a precaution against the spread of the A/H1N1 flu among Iranian students.

Seyed Ali Yazdikhah, the director of the Education Organization of Tehran Province said on Monday that the schools were closed in line with a circular issued by the education ministry to prevent the spread of swine flu in schools.

The circular says if 15 percent of students of a school have been infected with the A/H1N1 flu, the educational institution should be closed.

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.

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.