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12 Dead from Influenza in Gaza; Al Mezan Warns of Unusually Early Spread of the Virus


Healthcare sources in the Gaza Strip have reported the death of 12 persons from the H1N1 influenza virus. While the sources state that the spread of the virus is common in winter, they have expressed concern about the rapid spread so early in the season. The impact of any outbreak of the virus is compounded by the scarcity of healthcare resources in Gaza. Reports by healthcare sources in the West Bank show no cases of death from the H1N1 virus at the time of publication.


Given Gaza’s population density, being about 5,205 people per square kilometer, the virus is expected to spread quickly. The World Health Organization has recommended vaccination for protection against the virus and warned that children, older people and people with chronic diseases are particularly vulnerable.[1] On Thursday, 29 November 2018, the Palestinian Ministry of Health received about 8,000 vaccines for the virus, which it intends to distribute to patients with kidney failure, cancer and chronic chest diseases, and to pregnant women, and medical staff.


Alarmed by the significant number of deaths from the H1N1 influenza virus, Al Mezan Center for Human Rights recommends the following:


  • -- Prompt and effective measures to be implemented to protect the population against the virus, including the provision of adequate quantities of vaccines;
  • -- Liaison and coordination between healthcare authorities, NGOs, and UNRWA to be improved to ensure health needs are met effectively and on a timely basis;
  • -- International health organizations support and collaborate with health service providers in the Gaza Strip; and
  • -- Access to health is enhanced through ensuring not only accessibility to hospitals and clinics but also by facilitating information-share and awareness concerning the virus and hygiene practices that contribute to the well-being of the population.


[1] World Health Organization, A (H1N1) Seasonal Influenza Virus: Guidance on Prevention and Treatment:

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