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Photograph: Scheijen

Eleven people have died from swine flu in Syria since September 2015, a Health Ministry official has said amid concerns that communicable diseases are spreading inside the war-torn country.

Since September 22, hospitals had admitted 27 people infected with the H1N1 virus, and eleven of them had died, Ahmmed Damariyeh told the state-run al-Thawra daily.

Damariyeh said that vaccines against swine flu were available, while people could also take a number of other precautionary measures against the disease.

Syria reported its first death from swine flu in August 2009.

The World Health Organization expressed its concerns in 2013 over the increasing number of cases of communicable diseases inside Syria and among displaced Syrians in neighbouring countries.

According to the international charity Save the Children, some 60 per cent of Syria’s hospitals have been damaged or destroyed, while the production of drugs has fallen by 70 per cent.

Nearly half of Syria’s doctors have fled the country, the group said.

The war in Syria, which started in 2011 with an uprising against the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, has so far claimed more than 250,000 lives, according to the UN.

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