Kuwait's Swine Flu Numbers Rise to 111, Teens Susceptible

Kuwait Times

Kuwait, Jul 30: Kuwait's health authorities are closely monitoring cases diagnosed with the H1N1 virus, amid warnings from the World Health Organization (WHO) that most of those infected worldwide are teenagers, aged between 12 and 17, and that swine flu could spread among school children. The Ministry of Health is working around the clock, especially after the number of cases reported in the country rose to 111, with the global total currently standing at around 80,000, of whom 359 have died, according to the WHO.

Mohsen Burguba, director of the Ministry of Education's (MoE) Public Relations and Media Department, said that the health and education ministries were working closely to take the necessary precautions to safeguard pupils, and are launching an awareness campaign about the nature of the virus and ways of dealing of it before the beginning of the next academic year sees schools reopening.

The education ministry has submitted a request to the MoH for Tamiflu to be provided in syrup form for kindergarten and primary school pupils, and in capsule form for older pupils, especially since schools are scheduled to reopen in a few weeks' time, Burguba explained. These measures are necessary since many children and teachers will be returning to school after vacations in countries outside Kuwait, where they may have been exposed to the virus, he added.

Dr Rashid Al-Owaiesh, the director of the health ministry's General Health Department, said that those suspected of being infected with the swine flu virus would promptly be treated with Tamiflu and any individual who tested positive for it would immediately be hospitalized.

Two wings have been assigned in every local hospital to treat those infected with the virus and to determine whether or not sufferers are sufficiently recovered to be discharged after it has run its course, explained Dr. Al-Owaiesh.

The health ministry has already selected a company to manage the campaign to raise awareness about the swine flu virus and how it can be avoided, which will be launched before the forthcoming Hajj and the beginning of the next school year, he added.

Medical researchers who compared the contemporary swine flu virus with ones from previous influenza epidemics have concluded that swine flu affects the young in its first wave of infection, warning that the pandemic's second wave might be stronger and more dangerous.

Researchers writing in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), published in June 2009, said that younger people were more susceptible to the swine flu virus than to seasonal influenza. A second study, published by Japanese researchers, also in June, found that 90 percent of the swine flu cases diagnosed up till that time had been among school-age children.


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Title: Kuwait's Swine Flu Numbers Rise to 111, Teens Susceptible

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