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Saudi school closed due to swine flu outbreak
The Ministry of Education temporarily closed down a school in Riyadh after it reported 20 new swine flu cases among its students.
July 14, 2009 8:38 by Dana El Baltaji
The Ministry of Education on Monday ordered the closure of an international school in Riyadh after 20 students tested positive for swine flu. Officials, however, declined to identify the school except to say it is “East Asian.” A dozen other unrelated cases have also been identified.
Health Ministry spokesman Khalid Al Mirghalani said that health officials asked the Education Ministry to temporarily close the school to contain the spread of the virus. The ministry spokesman said officials reacted promptly and according to World Health Organization guidelines to avoid further infection among school staff and students.
“We have segregated the infected students and they are currently being treated in a Riyadh hospital,” Al Mirghalani said, adding that all students, teachers and administrative staff of the school have been asked to see a doctor at the first sign of flu symptoms in the coming days.
Swine flu incubation can take up to seven days, though generally it is between 24 and 48 hours from initial infection. Anti-viral drugs work best if taken within 48 hours of the manifestation of symptoms.
East Asian schools in the capital include institutions from the Philippines and Indonesia. Around 13 Philippine schools are located in Riyadh.
Moiz Al Qahtani, general supervisor of international schools in Riyadh province for the Education Ministry, said that most of the western region schools are already closed for summer vacation, but, “we will send out circulars to other schools to be alert on the outbreak and advise staff and students to take precautionary measures against the disease.”
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