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Armenia Reports First Suspected Swine Flu Cases

YEREVAN -- Armenian Health officials have urged people not to "panic" after the first cases of swine flu were reported in the country, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports.

Officials said on November 9 that blood samples from three people possibly infected with swine flu were sent to a World Health Organization (WHO) laboratory in London for testing.

Shushan Hunanian, a senior Health Ministry official, told RFE/RL that two of the infected individuals are Armenians from the town of Echmiadzin and the third is an Iranian national who came to Armenia from Ukraine.

Hunanian also saw "no need to panic," saying the medical services are "prepared" to cope with the swine flu outbreak and will seek newly developed flu vaccines "as soon as possible."

Health Minister Harutiun Kushkian said last week that the authorities will wait for 15 to 20 days before deciding whether to purchase the medication.

He also said they have stepped up the monitoring of people coming to Armenia from neighboring states.

All of them have reported swine flu cases in recent months, although Turkey has recently been the hardest hit.