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Bahrain in SARS travel alert watchlist

Manama, March 13, 2013

Bahrain has been included on a Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) travel alert issued by the US-based Centre for Disease Control (CDC), said a report.

The warning about a SAR-related virus from the Middle East follows World Health Organisation (WHO) reports of 14 infections that killed eight people between last April and last month. These cases came to light in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan and the UK.

The new warning cautions American travellers in the region about the potential threat from the coronavirus, reported the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication.

"The CDC recommends that US travellers to countries in or near the Arabian Peninsula monitor their health and see a doctor right away if they develop fever and symptoms of lower respiratory illness, such as cough or shortness of breath," states the advisory.

Coronaviruses are a cause of the common cold, but also the global SARS epidemic that killed 800 people worldwide in 2003.

The symptoms of the new infection are said to be similar to SAR and the CDC warns doctors to "report unexplained severe respiratory illnesses" within 10 days of an infected person's travel to the Middle East, where the early victims of the virus originated.

Bahrain is on a list of 14 countries included in the CDC alert alongside Iraq, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestinian Territories, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, the UAE and Yemen.

However, people are not being advised to avoid these countries because of the new infection.

"CDC does not recommend that anyone change their travel plans because of these cases of the novel coronavirus," it said.

However, people travelling to the region are being advised to get routine vaccinations for influenza, chickenpox, polio, measles/mumps/rubella (MMR) and diphtheria/pertussis/tetanus (DPT).

The CDC cited WHO reports, which state it has been tracking the virus since last September when a Saudi and Qatari died from severe respiratory illness.

Three members of one family were infected by the new coronavirus recently, according to the CDC.

One of the victims was a 60-year-old man who was hospitalised due to severe respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus and H1N1 flu virus on January 28, three days after arriving in the UK.

The man had travelled to Pakistan and Saudi Arabia before reaching the UK. Another member of the man's family suffered the same illness on February 6 and later died.

A third member of the family, a woman, was mildly infected on February 5, but was not hospitalised.

Health Ministry officials in Bahrain were unavailable for comment yesterday.-TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Bahrain | travel | Virus | SARS |

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