Swine Flu Affected US Troops Leave Kuwait

by VR Sreeraman on  May 25, 2009 at 12:29 PM Tropical Disease News   - G J E 4
Eighteen US soldiers who tested positive for swine flu were removed from a military base in Kuwait on Sunday, as Australia shut down a school after identifying two more cases of the disease.
Swine Flu Affected US Troops Leave Kuwait
Swine Flu Affected US Troops Leave Kuwait

Several countries, many in Asia, announced fresh cases of A(H1N1) influenza, including China where a 21-month-old baby was being treated in hospital, and in Switzerland a woman returning from the United States became the country's third flu victim.

"All the 18 soldiers have left Kuwait," the deputy chief of Kuwait's public health department, Yussef Mendkar, told AFP.

"They had normal symptoms of the disease and were given the necessary medication."

Mendkar said the US soldiers had "had no contact whatsoever with the local population," and that the oil-rich state remained free of the A(H1N1) influenza.

Earlier, Kuwait's Undersecretary of Health Ibrahim al-Abdulhadi told the official KUNA news agency that the soldiers had been immediately isolated at the US base in Arifjan, 70 kilometres (about 40 miles) south of the capital.

The US embassy in Kuwait said it was aware of the cases.

Arab countries in the Gulf region, which have millions of foreign workers, have so far not reported any confirmed cases of the flu.

But authorities in the region have stepped up surveillance of travellers at airports, with Doha, Dubai and Abu Dhabi installing thermal cameras.

Asian countries were the centre of most of the fresh cases of the infection Sunday.

Australia confirmed two more swine flu cases. a 27-year-old man and 15-year-old boy in Melbourne, prompting officials in Victoria state to close the boy's school for a week as a precaution.

The closure was part of a package of measures announced on Friday after confirmation of the country's first case of human-to-human transmission of the A(H1N1) virus.

The new "containment" phase allows for the closure of public places and for the cancellation of major events.

With the latest cases bringing Australia's total to 16, Health Minister Nicola Roxon expressed concern over how easily the virus was spreading.

"We do have a slightly worrying development that we have several cases where we cannot identify where they might have got the disease from, so they're not travellers, they're not immediate contacts of confirmed cases," she said.

China quarantined a 21-month-old Chinese baby, its eighth recorded case, in the country's southeast, the health ministry said Sunday.

The girl flew with her parents to Fuzhou, the capital of Fujian province, from New York via Hong Kong on Wednesday, the ministry reported on its website.

Admitted to hospital with a high fever on Thursday, her temperature had since returned to normal and she was stable.

Her parents and the taxi driver who picked them up at the airport were under medical observation, and 30 of the 38 people near her in the plane from Hong Kong, had already been traced, the others having left the country.

The Philippines also reported its second confirmed case of swine flu.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque said the patient was a 50-year-old woman who arrived last Wednesday from Chicago in the United States. She was being treated Manila's Research Institute of Tropical Medicine.

On Thursday the health department announced the Philippines' first swine flu case: a 10-year-old girl whose family had travelled to the United States. She was recovering, said Duque.

Quarantine officials were working to trace those who had come into contact with the patients.

Taiwanese authorities confirmed Saturday that a woman and her daughter who had visited the Philippines for a yoga class had contracted swine flu.

In Europe, Swiss health authorities reported the country's third confirmed flu case in a woman who was placed in isolation in Basel when she developed symptoms on her return flight from Washington to Zurich.

"Up to now there have been no cases of the infection being transmitted from person to person in Switzerland," authorities added.

More than 12,000 swine flu infections and 86 deaths have been confirmed across 43 countries worldwide, according to the most recent World Health Organisation statistics.

Source: AFP

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