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Ministry reports swine flu

KUWAIT CITY, Feb 3, (Agencies): Anumber of positive swine flu cases were reported by a Health Ministry official here on Monday. These cases are receiving treatment “according to preventative and precautionary programmes,” Assistant Undersecretary for General Healthcare Qais Al-Dowairi told reporters on the fringes of a workshop for non-communicable disease surveyors. Swine flu infection is usually simple, but can sometimes get complicated due to the existence of a concomitant, or secondary, illness, he suggested.

It is flu season, and it is quite common that the cases have been detected, he said, adding that the cases will be dealt with in an “utterly professional manner.” The workshop is being held in preparation for surveys that will be taking place according to the directions of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Political Declaration of the Highlevel Meeting of the UN General Assembly on the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable Diseases. Non-communicable diseases have become more common globally due to the abundance of certain habits and behavior patterns like obesity, smoking and high blood pressure and cholesterol, he explained.

Around 60 percent of deaths as a result of these diseases are due to the a forementioned habits. The local surveys will focus on specific age groups ranging from 18 to 65. These people will be handed comprehensive questionnaires in order to take a closer look at their social habits, including negative habits such as smoking, unhealthy diets and irregular behaviour patterns.

These questionnaires will be accompanied by blood tests revealing blood sugar, saturated fat and cholesterol levels. The surveys could take from three to six months, and will reveal an accurate picture of the level of spread of threatening factors amongst all age groups in the country, he concluded.

The Ministry of health has allegedly recorded death of one among five patients diagnosed with seine flu cases in specialized hospitals. In what seems to be a repeat of the swine flu scare that the country experienced four years ago, a source revealed one of those found to be suffering from the disease work as a nurse in an undisclosed medical center. He claimed the ministry tried to conceal the information in order to avoid causing panic among citizens and expatriates and ot prevent the recurrence of a previous incident when schools were closed due to threats made by lawmakers to grill then Health Minister Dr Hilal Al-Sayer.

According to the source, some of the swine flu cases were discoverdd on Jan 7 and 8; followed by other cases reported on Jan 17 and 18. This has prompted the director of the concerned hospital to call for an emergency meeting with the senior officials in a bid to intensify efforts to combat the disease. The source went on to say the patients were later referred to the Infectious Diseases Hospital to complete the treatment.

He added one of the patients resisted Tamiflu injection, which is widely recommended by the World Health Organization for the treatment of H1N1 virus. He then expressed concern as the case is unusual in Kuwait, while appealing to all concerned authorities to take preventive measures and to contact WHO to find alternative treatment besides Tamiflu. In a related development, Ministry of Health Undersecretary Dr Khalid Al- Salahwi said, after the meeting of the Council of undersecretaries chaired by Minister Dr Ali Al-Obaidi, that the council unveiled plans of the ministry in handling the incident through media awareness campaigns. He added the minister decided to open a new Twitter account to receive complaints about health facilities.

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