Swine flu count increases worldwide

25th May 2009, Comments 0 comments

A Basel woman is diagnosed with A(H1N1), bringing Switzerland’s swine flu count to three.

KUWAIT CITY - Eighteen US soldiers who tested positive for swine flu were removed from a military base in Kuwait, while several new cases emerged on Sunday in Asia, and Australia shut down a school.

With the total number of A(H1N1) flu cases above 12,000 worldwide, including 86 deaths, South Korea on Sunday reported another 11 confirmed infections, Yonhap news agency said.

China said an infected 21-month-old baby was treated in hospital, while the Philippines and Switzerland also announced new cases.

In Kuwait, officials said there was no sign swine flu spread from the soldiers to the local population.

"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 no contact whatsoever with the local population," and that the nation remained free of swine flu.

Earlier, Kuwait's Undersecretary of Health Ibrahim al-Abdulhadi told the official KUNA news agency that the soldiers were immediately isolated at the US base in Arifjan south of the capital.

Arab countries in the Gulf region, which have millions of foreign workers, did not yet report any confirmed cases of the flu.

But authorities increased surveillance of travellers at airports, with Doha, Dubai and Abu Dhabi installing thermal cameras.

Asia was the centre of most fresh cases Sunday.

Australia confirmed two more 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 several measures announced Friday after confirmation of the country's first case of human-to-human transmission.

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

South Korea's 11 new cases brought the country's total to 21, Yonhap news agency said.

They were found in three children who arrived from New York early Sunday, and eight foreigners who trained together to work as English teachers along with a US infected patient, Yonhap said, citing health authorities.

Yonhap said some of the foreigners were sent to language institutes in different cities nationwide before being quarantined, sparking health concerns.

The Korea Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, which earlier quarantined the three children as probable cases, refused to confirm the news report, saying final results were due Monday.

China confirmed a 21-month-old Chinese baby as its eighth recorded case, as three other suspected cases emerged.

The girl flew with her parents to Fuzhou, the capital of Fujian province, from New York via Hong Kong Wednesday, the health ministry said.

Quarantined in hospital with a high fever Thursday, her temperature returned to normal and she is stable.

Hong Kong officials meanwhile confirmed one new case, raising the city's total to seven, and the Philippines reported its second confirmed case, a 50-year-old woman who arrived last Wednesday from Chicago.

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

More than 12,000 swine flu infections were confirmed across 43 countries since the virus emerged in the Americas in late April, according to the most recent World Health Organisation statistics.

AFP / Expatica

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