Swine flu reaches over 30 confirmed cases

The number of swine flu cases in the Maldives has climbed to 32 after seven more people, including a pilgrim returning from Hajj, tested positive yesterday.

The 27-year-old man was the first Hajj pilgrim to test positive for swine flu.

This establishes infection in Haa Alif Baarah, Hoarafushi, Thuraakunu, Dhaal Rinbidhoo, Faaf Nilandhoo and a resort island being developed in Thaa atoll, according to the health ministry.

The virus has now been detected in all regions of the country apart from seven atolls. With nine cases reported, the Male’ region has the highest incidence of swine flu, followed by five in Raa atoll, and two each from Shaviyani, Noonu, Meemu and Dhaal atolls.

Baa, Lhaviyani, Alif Alif, Vaavu, Faafu, Thaa and Gnaviyani atolls have one confirmed case each.

The number of Influenza A cases in the country currently stands at 65.

The swine flu alert is currently at level four with infection being transmitted within the general community but limited to some islands, atoll or province, the health ministry said.

Under level four, the ministry advises travelers to take precautionary measures and defer “non-essential travel, especially for those who are at higher risk of severe illness and when onward travel may result in quarantine”.

A 65-year-old man from Raa atoll Inguraidhoo who died on 18 November became the first casualty of swine flu in the Maldives.

He was the first victim not to have traveled abroad. In a statement to parliament, Health Minister Dr Aiminath Jameel said the victim was believed to have contracted the virus on a visit to Male’ to see off pilgrims to Mecca.

Prior to his death, the six people infected with the virus had traveled abroad and were released after treatment.

The number of deaths from swine flu worldwide has risen to 9,596 deaths in over 200 countries.