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‘Sama Sarhan students to return to school after H1N1 fears alleviated’

By Dana Al Emam - Mar 26,2015 - Last updated at Mar 26,2015

AMMAN — Students of Sama Sarhan Municipality in Mafraq are expected to go back to their schools on Sunday after a week of not attending over fear of catching H1N1 (swine) flu, an official said on Thursday.

Mafraq Governor Qasim Mheidat said he and a specialised medical team from the Health Ministry on Thursday met with residents and community leaders of Sama Sarhan, some 80km northeast of Amman, and reached an understanding that the disease “is not a threat”.

“Residents felt better about sending their children to school after health officials explained to them that the disease is seasonal and not dangerous,” Mheidat told The Jordan Times over the phone.

He added that anyone across the Kingdom could be infected by the “seasonal” virus, which might negatively affect only those who already suffer from chronic diseases.

“Registered cases in Mafraq were limited to an eight-member family and two other individuals,” Mheidat said, adding that all patients were discharged from hospital within hours after receiving medication.

In previous remarks to The Jordan Times, Sama Sarhan residents said they were not sending their children to school to prevent them from catching the virus, and criticised authorities’ denial of the “seriousness” of the issue.

No official data is available on the number of patients diagnosed with H1N1 in the Kingdom this year, according to the Health Ministry, but mortality rates among patients globally are up to 3 per cent of diagnosed cases.

The World Health Organisation has been dealing with H1N1 as a type of “seasonal virus” since 2010, Health Ministry Spokesperson Hatem Azrui said in previous remarks.

The H1N1 virus first emerged in Jordan in June 2009 with 3,049 cases and 16 fatalities registered that year. The strain re-emerged in December 2010, causing 289 illnesses and 17 deaths.

The Health Ministry has said that since the first outbreak of the disease in the country, all H1N1-related deaths in Jordan occurred among patients in high-risk groups such as the elderly, children, pregnant women and those with respiratory diseases. 

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