Swine flu claims 24 lives in Egypt

Cairo - Egypt's Health Ministry says swine flu has killed 24 people across the country over the past two months.

At a Tuesday news conference, the ministry's head of preventive medicine, Amr Qandeel, said 195 people have been hospitalized with the virus since December 1, 2013. He added that so far the cases had been spread out through several areas, particularly the Nile Delta and Cairo. He encouraged those suffering from flu symptoms to seek medical attention early.

The virus was first identified in 2009 and became known as swine flu because it closely resembled known influenza viruses that cause illness in pigs. Credit: AP

The ministry says that children and young adults are particularly vulnerable. Qandeel also says that two doctors had contracted the illness but that no medical personnel were among the dead.

In 2009, the global swine flu pandemic prompted Egyptian authorities to slaughter around 300,000 pigs previously used to dispose of the city's organic garbage.