Quito: A total of 74 people have died of swine flu in Ecuador, so far this year, the Ministry of Public Health said. Besides, the country has also seen 691 cases of swine flu in 2016, the ministry said on Thursday, Xinhua news agency reported. This number of victims is still lower than that for the same period in 2013 when an AH1N1 epidemic had left 114 dead. This year's spread of the virus, also known as swine flu, has so far killed 11 percent of those having contracted it. The virus usually attacks the respiratory tract and causes fever, headaches, bone and muscle pain and intense coughing. With the epidemic surging again, the ministry banned the open sale of anti-flu medicine at pharmacies in May to prevent people from self-medicating as soon as they present flu symptoms. In May, the government also bought 300,000 doses of flu vaccine, which are mainly being distributed in the coastal provinces of Manabi and Esmeraldas, which were severely affected by the April 16 earthquake.