Swine flu reaches the UAE
The UAE confirms its first case of swine flu just a day after inflicted US troops in Kuwait are sent packing.
May 25, 2009 10:48 by Parinaaz Navdar
HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum
The UAE has confirmed its first case of swine flu, reports Gulf News. Laboratory tests on a male passenger, who flew into Abu Dhabi from Canada, have come back positive for the H1N1 virus.
According to the UAE minister of health, Haneef Hassan, “The patient, who arrived to the country on a flight from Canada, is recovering now at a government hospital after he has received a course of treatment. He will remain under observation and treatment for ten days as medically recommended. Passengers who were on the same flight have not developed any H1N1 symptoms.”
Hassan added that the UAE had precautionary and preventative measures in place, which are accordance with the World Health Organization’s (WHO) guidelines. The country is also regularly communicating with regional and international organizations, exchanging information on developments regarding the H1N1 virus.
The UAE is continuing to screen passengers at airports, using thermal cameras to catch possible cases of the flu on arrival.
The confirmation comes after 18 US soldiers infected with the virus left Kuwait on Sunday. Yussef Mendkar, deputy chief of Kuwait’s public health department told AFP that, “They had normal symptoms of the disease and were given the necessary medication. They were treated and they have fully recovered.” He declined to say when they arrived or from where.
According to him, the troops had no contact with the local population, and the country remained free of the H1N1 virus. Kuwait is used as a logistics base for troops serving in Iraq. Approximately 15,000 troops are based there, and the country is also a transit point for thousands of US soldiers going to and from Iraq.
As of May 23, the WHO’s global tally for Influenza A(H1N1) now stands at 12,022 cases and 86 deaths in 42 countries. More than half of those cases have been reported in the United States, while most of the deaths occurred in Mexico, where the virus was first detected last month.