Saudi hospitals on full alert over swine flu

Emergency departments ready to deal with possible outbreak, as H1N1 cases rise to 34.
Saudi hospitals on full alert over swine flu
By Elsa Baxter
Sun 21 Jun 2009 08:05 AM

Emergency departments at government hospitals in Saudi Arabia are on full alert to deal with swine flu cases as the number of people diagnosed with the virus rises to 34.

Jeddah Health Affairs Directorate made the announcement on Saturday in an attempt to calm fears about the spread of the N1N1 virus.

“All emergency departments, hospital infection control sections, and management of primary health care in Jeddah are training workers, doctors, and technicians in how to deal with suspected and confirmed cases of swine flu,” Abdul Rahman Al-Sahafi, public relations director told the Saudi Gazette.

He said all government hospitals are on alert to deal with swine flu cases and that all the necessary medical steps have been taken to prevent the spread of the virus.

Earlier on Saturday, the Ministry of Health released a statement saying four new cases of the H1N1 virus had been diagnosed in the Kingdom.

Two children, aged three and five, an 8-month-old baby and a 27 year-old man, who arrived in Riyadh from Thailand via Abu Dhabi, on June 16, have been diagnosed, treated and put into hospital isolation.

Meanwhile, the Kingdom and the World Health Organisation (WHO) are working together to finalise a plan to deal with a possible swine flu outbreak among Makkah pilgrims.

Fears are heightened, reported Gulf News, because nearly 16,000 Muslims from the United States, where the virus has been most severe affecting 17,000 people and killing 44, perform the Hajj each year.

The Saudi health authorities are reported to be stockpiling medicines to deal with any outbreak.

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