Palestinian government says that at least nine people have died in an outbreak of the H1N1 influenza strain known as swine flu
It added that the Palestinian health ministry “has the necessary medicines, testing kits and equipment to deal efficiently with the spread of the virus”.
The virus has affected Israel and the Palestinian territories in the past, killing dozens of people.
In 2009, an H1N1 epidemic erupted in Mexico and spread into a worldwide pandemic that caused at least 17,000 deaths.
In 1997, the H5N1 strain of influenza, commonly known as bird flu, broke out in Hong Kong.
Spreading from live birds to humans through direct contact, it causes fever and breathing problems and claimed 359 human lives in 15 countries, mainly in Asia and Africa, from 2003 to August of this year, according to the World Health Organisation.
Nearly all major epidemic diseases in humans originated in livestock and health professionals keep a constant watch on animal diseases to assess the risk of strains developing that can cross the species barrier.
(english.ahram.org.eg / 29.12.2012)