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Mon 12 Nov 2007 01:46 PM

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Bird flu alert strikes Bahrain

Bahraini government re-activates health services ahead of a possible outbreak coming winter

Medical authorities are on bird flu alert in Bahrain after the government "re-activated" its health services ahead of a possible outbreak of the disease this coming winter, said senior Health Minister yesterday.

Dr Muna Al Mousawi told Gulf News Daily that there, "was a greater risk of the virus coming to Bahrain in the winter with the increased migration of birds from colder countries."

"We have now sent out letters to all bodies, departments and organisations concerned to be ready in case there is a threat," Dr. Al Mousawi, head of the Health Ministry Communicable Diseases Department, told the Bahraini paper.

A special ward was opened in the Gulf country in March, specifically designed to cope with any sudden outbreak of the disease and the Ministry has stockpiled five times the vaccinations that the World Health Organization recommends countries keep on hand.

"There is still no vaccination for the condition," Dr. Al Mousawi said, "but the WHO has recommended that the high risk population be vaccinated against the ordinary flu to prevent human to human infection in case."

The Salmaniya Medical Complex, which houses the special emergency ward, has been fitted out with the latest equipment and is staffed with chest physicians, intravenous specialists and intensive care specialists.

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