x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

H1N1 found in Emirates flier

A 25-year-old British national who flew Emirates Airline to Kuala Lumpur is one of the latest cases of the H1N1 virus in Malaysia.

An Emirates Airline passenger who flew from Dubai to Kuala Lumpur last week has tested positive for swine flu, the Malaysian ministry of health said yesterday. The 25-year-old British national took Emirates flight EK342 on Kuala Lumpur on June 8. He stayed overnight at a hotel before proceeding on a local carrier for a holiday to the island of Pulau Tioman.

He developed flu-like symptoms, including a fever, on June 10 and was admitted to Tengku Afzan Hospital, where he tested positive for the H1N1 virus three days later, according to a Malaysian health ministry representative. It was not necessary to contact other passengers on the man's flight because for infection to occur, exposure to the virus must take place in the 24 hours before the host shows symptoms, according to the representative, who relayed the information in an e-mail message to Emirates Airline. The passenger developed symptoms two days after arriving in Malaysia.

It remains unclear whether he lives in Dubai or just passed through the city's international airport. The patient was responding well to Tamiflu and antiviral treatments, said Ismail Merican, the director general of health in Malaysia. "He is doing well. There is no sign of pneumonia. No complications. He will be all right," Dr Merican said. "Rest assured, we will not release him unless he has fully recovered."

Dr Cliff Webster, Emirates Airline's chief medical adviser, said the airline was in full compliance with measures developed by various international bodies monitoring the spread of swine flu, including the World Health Organisation. "Our staff at airports where we operate have been asked to monitor the situation and share any information with airport authorities," Dr Webster said. sbhattacharya@thenational.ae