Iranian officials say the death toll from an outbreak of swine flu in southeastern Iran has increased, warning that the disease could spread to other areas of the country.
Deputy Health Minister Ali Akbar Sayyari told state television that the outbreak had killed 36 people, and that it was likely to spread to the western provinces of Kermanshah and East Azerbaijan.
Earlier this week, Sayyari said that 28 had died in the eastern province of Kerman and five in the neighboring province of Sistan-Baluchistan bordering Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Lawmaker Mohammad Mehdi Zahedi from Kerman said on December 9 that at least 40 people had died from the outbreak in the two provinces.
He said 750 people had been hospitalized in Kerman after being infected with the disease.
Meanwhile, the official IRNA news agency reported 24 cases in the southern province of Fars and four new cases in Mazandaran in the north.
Swine flu is a strain of the influenza virus known as H1N1. It first appeared in Mexico in 2009 and rapidly spread around the world.
With reporting by IRNA and Mehr