Iranian health officials are saying that at least 33 people have died in recent weeks in southwestern Iran due to H1N1 influenza, or the swine flu. According to a report in a Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) report Monday, Deputy Health Minister Ali-Akbar Sayyari said the cases were reported in Kerman province (28) and Sistan-Baluchestan (5).


Health officials also warn that the virus may spread to Tehran, the capital city and a population of some 16 million in the metro area.

“The health ministry predicts that the virus will spread in the coming days to Tehran, West and East Azarbaijan and Kermanshah provinces more than to other areas”, Sayyari notes.

In Kerman province alone, 600 people have been hospitalized with the viral illness, according to an AFP report. Vaccines have arrived in the province with more expected in days to come.

On June 11, 2009, the World Health Organization declared a influenza pandemic due to the particular H1N1 strain that had not circulated previously in humans. In August 2010, the WHO said studies indicate that 20–40% of populations in some areas have been infected by the H1N1 virus.

In the US, final estimates after the pandemic revealed  from April 12, 2009 to April 10, 2010 approximately 60.8 million cases (range: 43.3-89.3 million), 274,304 hospitalizations (195,086-402,719), and 12,469 deaths (8868-18,306) occurred in the United States due to H1N1.