Saudi Arabia confirms first swine flu death

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Riyadh (Saudi Arabia), July 27 (ANI): Saudi Arabia on Monday confirmed that a man had died of swine flu.

The health ministry said this was the first such death and that it had taken place in a private hospital in Dammam in the eastern part of the country.

Health ministry officials said that the dead man was 30 and that he was admitted to the hospital on Wednesday with a fever and pneumonia.

He expired on Saturday despite being treated with antibiotics and the anti-flu drug Tamiflu, the ministry said.

The report of the death is likely to have an impact on this year's Hajj pilgrimage. In the normal course, several million people from all over the world undertake the Umrah and the Hajj to the Muslim holy cities of Mecca and Medina during the next five months.

It was the second reported swine flu death in the region. On July 19, a 25-year-old woman returning from a pilgrimage to Mecca died in hospital in Egypt, although it was not clear where she contracted the flu.

Saudi health officials say that there already over 300 people suffering from swine flu symptoms.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the flu has moved from 'imported' stage to the second epidemiological stage of locally generated transmission in Saudi Arabia.

At an emergency meeting in Cairo last week, Arab health ministers recommended that children under 12 and people over 65 be banned from undertaking the Hajj this year to reduce the risk.

As of July 25, a total of 1,028 cases had been reported in the WHO Eastern Mediterranean region, which spans 22 countries from Afghanistan to Morocco. (ANI)

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