Colombia’s health minister called for calm after six people died of swine flu in the north and south of the country. According to the minister the deaths do not constitute an outbreak.
Health Minister Alejandro Gaviria Uribe confirmed the death of six people in the northwestern department of Norte de Santander and the southern Huila department, but stressed there was no need for panic as some of the victims got the flu while severely ill.
“The deaths that have occurred are particular cases. One of the patients who died in Huila apparently had dengue and one of the deceased in Norte de Santander suffered rheumatoid arthritis and was taking immunosuppressive drugs, which affected his immune system,” Gaviria was quoted as saying by newspaper El Tiempo.
While calling for calm, the minister called on regional health authorities to continue to strengthen inspection of possible infection cases.
Following a global outbreak in 2009 and 2010, swine flu killed more than 200 Colombians. After a massive vaccination campaign, the number of infections dropped sharply and extensive security measures were lifted.