H1N1 vaccines to arrive just as caseload falls

KABUL, 11 January 2010 (IRIN) - Afghanistan is set to receive 600,000 doses of H1N1 influenza vaccine this week just as the number of those contracting the disease appears to be falling.

According to the Public Health Ministry (MoPH), 948 people have contracted the disease and 17 have died since July 2009, but evidence from the past few weeks points to a decline in the rate of spread.

Over 500 confirmed cases were reported 1-24 November, but from 24 November to 11 January only about 110 cases were confirmed. No H1N1-related fatality has been reported in 2010, according to MoPH, which said the virus was under control.

But the authorities are being cautious: “Although the influenza has been controlled effectively in the country, we are still concerned that it could rise in the cold season,” MoPH spokesman Farid Raaid told IRIN.

The vaccines have been pledged by Turkey (100,000 doses) and the UN World Health Organization (500,000). They would be used to immunize the most vulnerable people such as health workers, pregnant women and children.

A controversial three-week closure of all schools and colleges was announced on 1 November 2009 ostensibly in a bid to contain the virus. Afghanistan had reported over 320 H1N1 cases with two deaths as of 3 November.

Source: Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN), a project the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. IRIN is UN humanitarian news and information service, but may not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations or its agencies.

[This report does not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations]

Cold vs. Flu

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