The first two cases of H1N1 influenza in Tunisia were discovered after the local health authorities decided to test 22 students who had spent some time in Washington with the Bahraini students who tested positive, a Tunisian health official has said.
"When we heard about the cases of the Bahraini students who tested positive in Manama, we moved to check the Tunisian students who were with them in the US on an exchange programme and spent the last week together in the US capital. We checked all the students and their families and discovered the two cases," Mongi Hamrouni, head of basic health, told a Tunisian television station.
"Although the other students and all the families did not carry the virus, we asked them to stay indoors and to avoid contact with the outside world for a couple of days. They appreciated the precautionary measures we needed to take and complied. We are grateful for their cooperation," he said.
The North African country reported the cases yesterday amid a growing debate about whether to ban visits to affected countries.
The debate intensified to include travel to Makkah in Saudi Arabia for omra or pilgrimage, after the country reported several cases and a 38-year-old Tunisian woman returning home from Saudi Arabia was found to be infected with the virus.
Meanwhile, in Britain, a nine-year-old girl died yesterday, making her the third fatality from the virus in Britain.
New Zealand has confirmed another 64 cases of swine flue, taking its nationwide count to 587.
The number of recorded swine flu cases has reached 70,893 worldwide, with 311 deaths.
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