Turkey: Swine flu kills 11 in 2 years, epidemic ruled out
by Anadolu Agency
ANKARAMar 17, 2015 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Anadolu Agency
Mar 17, 2015 12:00 am
The Health Ministry announced on Tuesday that 11 people died of swine flu in the country between 2014 and first months of 2015, but assured the public that there was no epidemic.
Ministry officials held a press conference after the deaths of two patients from the lethal virus in the northwestern city of Kocaeli and the southern city of Mersin this week and last month's death in the central city of Sivas raised concerns about a nationwide epidemic.
Ministry Undersecretary said at the press conference that 170 H1N1 – the scientific name for the virus – cases have been reported since last year, adding that five people died last year and 11 others in the past four months.
"We have collected a total of 3,117 samples from patients, out of which 170 were cases of H1N1," Gümüş said.
He said that five people who died last year suffered from different types of influenza virus. Nine of the victims were under the age of 45, while two others were older, he added.
The cases were mainly detected in Turkey's southern provinces of Antalya and Mersin, the northwestern provinces of Bursa, Çanakkale and Kocaeli, the central province of Sivas and the northern province of Samsun.
On Monday, a man died in Mersin after he checked into a state hospital after complaining of a heart problem. After medical examinations, public and local health officials discovered he had the H1N1 virus. According to Gümüş, the infected person also had other health issues.
The official also said that the ministry's scientific committee on March 5 ruled out a swine flu outbreak in the country, and predicted that the flu season would be over by the end of March. Public hospitals have been provided with antiviral drugs to deal with various strains of the virus, which will be available to patients free of cost, he said.
Gümüş said that there was an increase in the number of sick people since the beginning of 2015 because of seasonal colds, and a similar increase in cases was noticed in previous years as well. "These are all seasonal flu viruses that are witnessed every year all over the world," he stressed.