BEIRUT (Reuters) - Two Syrians died of H1N1 swine flu last month and six others were suspected of carrying the infection, Syria’s state news agency SANA said on Monday.
The World Health Organization has warned that the collapse of Syria’s health system during its four-year civil war has led to the spread of disease. Typhoid, hepatitis and the polio virus have taken hold in the country.
SANA said the two men were from the southern province of Sweida, where government forces and rebels have clashed. Their deaths were reported by the head of Communicable and Chronic Diseases Department in Sweida, it said.
In 2009-10, swine flu spread from central Mexico around the world. Researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that it killed 284,000 people in 12 months.
More than 220,000 people have been killed in Syria’s conflict, which began in March 2011 with popular protests against President Bashar al-Assad and spiraled into civil war after a crackdown by his security forces.
Reporting by Oliver Holmes; editing by John Stonestreet