x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Swine flu suspects told to go into isolation

Travellers arriving in the UAE with symptoms of swine flu have been advised to not to mix with people.

ABU DHABI // Travellers arriving in the UAE with symptoms of swine flu have been advised by the country's technical committee dealing with the virus to not to mix with people. The Technical Health Committee on Combating Swine Flu has warned all travellers with symptoms of the H1N1 virus not to mix with people and immediately report to a hospital for tests, according to the state news agency WAM. The Ministry of Health also announced that 11 further patients have been treated and discharged from hospitals, leaving another 35 receiving treatment. The total number of active and previous cases is now around 125, according to the ministry. The Saudi Arabian health ministry announced yesterday that a Saudi national became the first death of the disease in the kingdom. The 30-year-old man was treated with antiviral drug Tamiflu after being admitted to a private hospital in Dammam on Wednesday. It is not known whether the man had any pre-existing health conditions. Previously, an Egyptian woman died from the disease after returning from a pilgrimage to Mecca. According to the World Health Organisation, manufacturers are expected to have a vaccines for use around September. There are a number of different pharmaceutical companies working on the pandemic vaccine production and each has different timelines. Last week health officials from the UAE and other Arab countries agreed to ban people below 12 or older than 65 and those with chronic illnesses from undertaking haj and umrah, in an effort to reduce the spread of the virus. According to the regional office of the WHO, 19 member states in the region have reported more than 1,100 cases, with more than 280 being transmitted locally. A WHO statement said: "In addition to surveillance information, WHO is relying on the results of special research and clinical studies and other data provided by countries directly through frequent expert teleconferences on clinical, virological and Epidemiological aspects of the pandemic, to gain a global overview of the evolving situation. "Although the risk factors for serious pandemic disease are not know definitively, risk factors such as existing cardiovascular disease, respiratory disease, diabetes and cancer currently are considered risk factors for serious pandemic (H1N1) 2009 disease." munderwood@thenational.ae