Israel has suffered its first death in the global swine flu epidemic, the country's Health Ministry announced on Monday. An Israeli man died of complications resulting from the virus over the weekend at Yoseftal Hospital in the Red Sea town of Eilat, the ministry said in a statement.
The ministry and the hospital would not release the man's name, but Israeli media identified him as Shimon Azran, 35. Lab tests on Monday confirmed swine flu was the cause of death. The ministry says there have been more than 1,300 confirmed cases of the flu in Israel.
First identified in April, swine flu originated in Mexico and spread quickly throughout the world. It has hit the United States harder than anywhere else, having likely infected more than 1 million Americans.
There have been 302 deaths and nearly 44,000 laboratory-identified cases in the United States, according to numbers released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Because the swine flu virus is new, most people haven't developed an immunity to it. So far, most of those who have died from it in the United States have had other health problems, such as asthma.
The virus has caused an unusual number of serious illnesses in teens and young adults, unlike the seasonal flu, which is usually most dangerous to the elderly and very young children. Saudi Arabia also reported its first swine flu death on Monday.