Iraq closes 1,500 schools over A/H1N1

0 CommentsPrint E-mail Xinhua, October 21, 2009
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An Iraqi southern province and a city in an eastern province decided to close their schools for some days over the spread of A/H1N1 flu cases, as the country's total flu cases climbed to 472, officials said on Tuesday.

Authorities in the province of Dhi Qar in southern Iraq decided a mass closure of about 1,500 schools for ten days starting from Wednesday after the provincial medical center confirmed they diagnosed the first case of the A/H1N1 virus.

A statement issued by the Dhi Qar provincial council said that "in an emergency meeting on Tuesday, the council decided to close all the schools in the province for ten days beginning from Oct. 21, because we are afraid that the health of our students would be affected after detecting the first case of A/H1N1 virus."

In the eastern province of Wasit, the provincial authorities decided a five-day extension for the already existing week-long closure of schools in the city of Hay, some 50 km south of the provincial capital of Kut, after medical authorities earlier diagnosed seven A/H1N1 flu cases among students at a female schoolin the city.

On Monday, Ihsan Jaafar, director general of the public health department in Iraqi Ministry of Health, told reporters that his Ministry registered a total of 472 cases of A/H1N1 virus in the country.

Jaafar confirmed that most of the cases in the country were detected among the U.S. soldiers with 403 cases, while 62 cases among Iraqis and seven among foreigners who entered Iraq recently.

A/H1N1 influenza is a highly contagious acute respiratory disease with symptoms generally including upper respiratory problems, but the air-borne illness can cause severe pneumonia and even death.

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