Palestinians confirm first death from swine flu

BETHLEHEM, West Bank, Aug 7 (Reuters) - Palestinians on Friday confirmed a first death in the West Bank of a patient known to be carrying the new H1N1 flu virus, a government health official said.

Asad Ramlawi, a senior Palestinian Health Ministry official said a 34-year-old man who recently returned from a pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia had died in hospital in Ramallah.

Palestinians reported a first confirmed case of the H1N1 virus in June and Ramlawi said there were now some 80 confirmed H1N1 cases in the Palestinian territories.

Israel reported its first fatality from the virus last week since when media has reported that four other people have died. The Health Ministry Web site said by July 30 1,719 cases had been diagnosed in the Jewish state.

The World Health Organisation declared an H1N1 influenza pandemic on June 11 but it has given up on trying to get a precise count of cases worldwide. By last week it said the virus had killed over 800 people. (Reporting by Mohammed Assadi; Writing by Ori Lewis in Jerusalem; Editing by Jon Hemming)