Saudi Arabia has confirmed its first case of the swine flu virus in a Filipina nurse, the kingdom's health minister said today. The woman arrived on Friday on board a Gulf Air flight from the Philippines and showed first symptoms on Monday, Abdullah al-Rabeeah told Saudi news channel al-Ekhbariya, adding that she was being held in quarantine in a hospital in the capital Riyadh. "She wasn't showing any symptoms then when she came back. She started showing some symptoms on Monday.
"Preliminary tests turned positive last night," he said, adding that more tests had confirmed the results today. Saudi authorities are tracking down people who had contact with her on the flight and in the hospital, he said. Gulf Air flights usually operate through their Manama hub in Bahrain. Saudi Arabia's neighbour Kuwait said on May 24 that 18 US soldiers had swine flu in the first cases to hit the world's largest oil exporting region. Kuwait is a logistics base for the US army for their Iraq operations.