The total number of people infected with the A(H1N1) influenza virus rose to 550 as of January 7, the Ministry of Health’s Department of Communicable Disease Control announced on its Web site. Four new cases were confirmed during a seven-day span from December 31. Six people have died from the virus – more commonly known as swine flu – since the first instance was detected in the Kingdom in June 2009. The first death was confirmed on September 27, and the latest was an 18-month-old boy who died on December 3. The World Health Organisation has recorded at least 12,799 deaths worldwide as of January 8, but the real number of cases is undoubtedly higher, as many deaths went untested. There have been 1,165 deaths in Southeast Asia. Health officials advise that to help prevent the spread of the disease, people should wash their hands frequently, refrain from spitting in public, use tissues or handkerchiefs and avoid crowds. Authorities urge anyone showing symptoms including a high fever, coughing, headache, muscle ache, sore throat, runny nose and lethargy, to contact them immediately.
PANDEMIC: Local cases of swine flu reach 550
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