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Friday, June 19, 2009

Another Filipino nurse in KSA found with A(H1N1)

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MANILA, Philippines — A Filipino nurse in Saudi Arabia was reported to be among the new A(H1N1) cases there, an online news site reported Wednesday.

Khaleej Times reported the Filipino nurse, whose name was withheld, is working at the King Fahd National Guard Hospital in Riyadh.

It said the nurse was among three new cases of A(H1N1) in Riyadh, Dhahran and Madinah.

She had come to the King Khaled International Airport in Riyadh on June 10 on board Cathay Pacific flight 330200 from the Philippines via Bahrain, the report said.

The new cases brought the number of A(H1N1) cases in Saudi Arabia to 14 in the last two weeks.

The kingdom’s first swine flu case was another Filipino nurse who works at the Riyadh’s King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center. Authorities said she has recovered but that she and her family will remain under observation.

The nurse was the latest swine flu case involving passengers originating from the Philippines. On Tuesday, Hong Kong health authorities announced that four Filipinos who returned to Hong Kong from Manila last week have tested positive for the virus.

The Philippine Consulate in Hong Kong also confirmed that the infected Filipinos include a 15-year-old girl and her 8-year-old sister, a 28-year-old domestic helper and a 33-year-old contractual worker, the Philippine Consulate said.

The first case was in May involving Filipino-Japanese siblings who returned to Tokyo and the other one was a Filipina nurse who became Saudi Arabia’s first swine flu case.

In China, four other Filipinos have been placed under quarantine on suspicion that they were carrying the new flu virus after getting into close contact with an infected person.

As of Tuesday, the Philippines leads in Southeast Asia with the highest confirmed cases of A(H1N1). The Department of Health said 247 Filipino nationals have been infected with mild swine flu.

In Saudi Arabia, the new swine flu cases prompted the Cabinet to call for greater international coordination and cooperation among countries and organizations to combat the pandemic.

The Khaleej Times report said the second case was a 13-year-old boy, the brother of a patient already admitted to Saudi Aramco Hospital.

The third case was an eight-month-old girl whose father was diagnosed with the infection and is currently being treated at King Fahd Hospital in Madinah.

Health Ministry spokesman Dr. Khaled Mirghalani said the patients who are already receiving treatment are fast recovering and are in sound health.

“We never thought that our specialists would cure this problem so easily," the health ministry spokesman said, describing the flu’s attack as mild.

He added those who had traveled with the infected passengers should get in touch with the ministry if they develop any symptoms of the disease.

The ministry also sent out a circular on Monday describing measures being taken to combat the virus and reiterated advice to the public on how to prevent its spread, including washing hands with soap for a minimum of 20 seconds after coughing or sneezing, using disinfectant gel, covering one’s mouth when coughing, and avoiding contact with the eyes unless hands are clean.

It denied that any information concerning the spread of swine flu was being withheld, and repeated its free-of-charge hotline number — 8002494444 — for further inquiries concerning the virus. - GMANews.TV


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