The H1N1 flu virus (red) is pictured in this handout photograph (Reuters)
A swine flu outbreak has killed nine people in Palestine, health officials have said.
The H1N1 virus that triggered worldwide panic three years ago has infected more than 225 people in the West Bank, Palestinian deputy health minister Asad Ramlawi said.
Ramlawi said that 25,000 vaccinations against the flu had been given in 2012 but played down the threat.
"The situation is not out of the ordinary. This virus spreads at the beginning of winter," he told AFP after the first three casualties were reported earlier in December.
"The victims had weak immune systems, which is what caused their deaths," Ramlawi said.
"[The Palestinian health ministry] has the necessary medicines, testing kits and equipment to deal efficiently with the spread of the virus," added a spokesperson for Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.
Dozens of residents in the Palestinian territories died during the first outbreak in 2009.
About 17,000 died that year from swine flu around the world. The H1N1 virus first emerged in Mexico before spreading across the globe.
The outbreak caused the World Health Organisation to declare swine flu the first global flu pandemic in 40 years.
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