Swine Flu Continues To Spread In Armenia

swineflu3YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–Swine flu has continued to spread in Armenia, with the number of cases reported by authorities more than doubling to 11 in recent days.

According to the Armenian Ministry of Health, five individuals, all of them Armenians, were diagnosed with the H1N1 virus and hospitalized on Thursday. Another person, a Turkish citizen, was found infected at Yerevan’s Zvartnots airport where he arrived on a flight from Istanbul on Wednesday.

None of the individuals suffering from the disease has been reported to be in a grave condition. At least two of them have been discharged from hospital since the authorities reported the first swine flu case on Monday.

Echoing statements by Health Minister Harutiun Kushkian and other senior health officials, Deputy Health Minister Hayk Darpinian urged Armenians on Friday not to succumb to “panic.” He said the authorities are doing everything to stem the spread of the disease.

Speaking to RFE/RL, Darpinian revealed that drug stores across Armenia have run out of their Tamiflu drug stocks because of panic buying caused by the swine flu scare. Kushkian said on Tuesday that his ministry has commissioned the purchase of 20,000 more doses of the conventional flu medication. Darpinian said the minister has also asked Armenian drug-importing companies to “restrain” the rise in Tamiflu prices observed in recent days.

Kushkian also announced that the Armenian government has asked the World Health Organization and other international agencies to speed up the planned delivery of newly developed H1N1 vaccines to Armenia. It was originally scheduled for January.


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