YEREVAN –Three people in Armenia died of influenza caused by H1N1 virus subtype (swine flu), the ministry of health reported today accrding to Arka news.

It said that in two cases, the deaths were caused by complications of cardiovascular disease and the third death was due to late appeal for medical help. All the cases were reported in 2015 December, it said.

According to the ministry of health Hundreds of people, most of them children, have been hospitalized in Armenia following an outbreak of the influenza that has forced the Armenian government to extend school holidays.

Hospitals across the country have struggled over the past week to cope with a continuing inflow of patients suffering from flu, pneumonia and other acute respiratory diseases. More than 560 people received urgent treatment there as of Friday. The vast majority of them were young children.

The Arabkir Medical Center, a children’s hospital in Yerevan, was packed with infected children, unable to receive more patients. “I came here with my children on January 2,” a young woman there told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am). “They both were in a severe condition. One of them was discharged yesterday.”

“We were hospitalized with usual flu symptoms: runny nose, fever, weakness, coughing. But it emerged later that it’s pneumonia,” said another mother.

The Armenian Ministry of Health has sought to downplay the mass hospitalizations, saying that the situation is under control and that hospitals across the country have sufficient medication to deal with the seasonal viruses. Still, it asked the government on Thursday to extend New Year’s and Christmas holidays in the schools by one week, until January 18. The ministry cited the need to “avoid complications” and “prevent a further spread of infections.”

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