Page last updated at 07:43 GMT, Tuesday, 28 July 2009 08:43 UK

Saudi Arabian swine flu fatality

Millions of people attend the annual Hajj, due this year in November
Millions of people attend the annual Hajj, due this year in November

Saudi Arabian officials have reported the country's first death from the swine flu virus.

The victim was a 30-year-old man. He was admitted to hospital last Wednesday suffering from high fever, coughing and breathing difficulties.

He died on Saturday despite taking antibiotics and the anti-flu drug Tamiflu, said the health ministry.

It was the third death from swine flu in the Middle East, following fatalities in Egypt and Israel.

There have been more than 300 cases of the disease reported in Saudi Arabia.

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There has been considerable concern over the impact it could have during this year's Hajj, which draws millions of pilgrims to Saudi Arabia.

On Thursday Arab health ministers agreed to prevent vulnerable groups joining the pilgrimage.

People aged over 65 and under 12, and those with chronic diseases, will be excluded from the event, a World Health Organization official said.

In June, Saudi Arabia asked elderly and sick Muslims not to visit this year. At least two million people took part in the last Hajj, which falls this year in November.

The decision to keep the vulnerable groups away from the pilgrimage must still be ratified by the health ministers' governments.

Egypt reported its first swine flu death on July 19, Israel confirmed its first fatality from the virus on Monday.





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