'Spread of swine flu kept secret in Mosul'

Nineveh, a veterinary team examines a chicken shop condition, 2020. Photo: Veterinary Hospital of Nineveh

KirkukNow- Nineveh

Seasonal swine flu has become very concerning for the people of Mosul. Anyone with strong cough and fever “hesitates” that he or she has swine flu.

The reason for the hesitance is that many patients have been under special treatments with the suspicion of swine flu. Numerous people have died from the suspected disease in the last two months.

“Those patients who are suspectedly suffering from swine flu, are treated in a special section and are under intense observations,” Said Nabil Ahmad, a doctor.

Nabil explained that four persons, two children, a man and a woman, have been hospitalized with the suspicion of swine flu. Their blood sample have been sent to Baghdad for diagnosis so that their diseases will be determined.

Seasonal swine flu is normally passed to human from H1N1 virus and its symptoms include coughs, chills, and aches.

Last December, Jasm Ammari, health director in Nineveh, stated that, “four people had suspiciously been diagnosed with the virus and two of them died whose diagnoses were sent to Baghdad,”

Based on the laboratory tests done in Baghdad, Ammari told KirkukNow that one of the persons actually died from H1N1 virus. But another person, who supposedly had swine flu, did not die from the virus.

“My husband was retching, did not feel like eating and had fever. He went to hospital and was moved to a separated section due to suspicion of swine flu. His blood sample was taken to Baghdad to test,” Rafl Ubaid said,

Ibrahim Raad, 38 and Rafl’s husband, died two month ago before his sample blood test result came out.

“I really did not like to visit responsible people to know the real reason for my husband’s death because of the government’s bureaucracy,” Ubaid said.

A doctor from Ibn Sina Hospital, who wanted to stay anonymous, told KirkukNow that many people have died from H5N1 virus in Nineveh, “but it is not publicized and no one can reach the patients diagnosed with the virus because they have been moved to separated section of the health directorate.”

At the same time, 30 cases of swine flu have been recorded in the Kurdistan Region and the blood samples have been sent to Baghdad for further diagnosis according to the ministry of health of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). Majority of that 30 people are from Duhok province.

Aous Khatib, a civic activist in Mosul, criticized the silence of the responsible institutions in Nineveh and asked the health directorate to announce if the disease is actually swine flu.

Other Iraqi provinces including Kirkuk and Diyla have taken serious measures to stop the possible spread of the virus.

Abdulrahman Sawaf, a doctor in Mosul, stated that the health centers and hospitals are not capable of tackling the disease and it should not be kept secret so that people would be aware of it.

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