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6 million gain immunity against H1N1 in Turkey

24 December 2009 [12:25] - TODAY.AZ
Four million people have been infected with the H1N1 virus and 2 million people have been vaccinated against the disease in Turkey, bringing the number of people who have acquired immunity against the pandemic to a total of 6 million, the Health Ministry has announced.

Yet the ministry noted that the figure was not sufficient to prevent the spread of the disease, hence vaccinations should continue in order to protect public health. The ministry also warned that H1N1 cases were likely to be seen less frequently at the end of winter but they were more likely to increase next autumn.

According to the ministry, the disease has been found and caused deaths in all provinces in Turkey so far. Although the disease is seen in all age groups, it has been more frequent among children, young people and the middle aged, said the ministry. The elderly get infected with the H1N1 virus less frequently but the effects of the disease are felt more strongly in this age group.

Turkey recorded its first H1N1 casualty in early November with the death of a 27-year-old man, D.İ., who worked as a custodian at an Ankara hospital. The death toll has now neared 500. The ministry said one-third of those who died due to H1N1 was below the age of 50 and known to be healthy people.

Health Minister Recep Akdağ dismissed claims that Turkey had been late in importing the H1N1 vaccine, saying that the country was among the first to import it and begin vaccinations. Akdağ was responding to two separate parliamentary inquiries initiated by Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Hatay deputy Turan Çirkin and Republican People’s Party (CHP) Edirne deputy Bilgin Paçarız about the import of H1N1 vaccines to Turkey.

When asked about the best way for people to protect themselves against the virus, Akdağ said it was vaccination. The ministry, which frequently informed the public about the death toll of the H1N1 virus, has now decided not to disclose the figures as sharing them with the public has not benefitted public health.

/Todays Zaman/

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