Bahrain to discuss SARS action with WHO
Manama, May 16, 2013
Bahrain’s Health Ministry officials will travel to Geneva next week to discuss how to combat the spread of a deadly SARS-like virus that has put the kingdom on high alert.
Fifteen people have already died of the novel coronavirus in Saudi Arabia, including at least nine in the nearby Eastern Province, reported the Gulf Daily News, our sister publication.
No suspected cases have been reported in Bahrain but health officials are becoming increasingly concerned about the proximity of the bug, which can be passed between humans by prolonged, close contact.
The ministry delegation will take part in an extraordinary World Health Organisation (WHO) meeting to discuss global concern about the spread of the infection.
The GCC Health Ministers Executive Council has also set up a special page on the Internet (sgh.org.sa) to give the latest information on the virus to the public and educate people on what to look for as symptoms and take preventive action.
"We have taken this issue very seriously and have activated all emergency measures to take immediate action if anyone in Bahrain is infected," said Health Ministry primary care and public health assistant undersecretary Dr Mariam Al Jalahma.
"There have been no suspected cases in Bahrain so far but we have to be on alert since there have been cases and deaths right across our border."
She said the Geneva meeting would discuss the latest developments on the spread of the virus, the statistics and preventive measures.
It will be held on the sidelines of the 66th general assembly of the WHO.
Dr Al Jalahma said the new virus, never identified in humans, can cause infections ranging from a common cold to acute pneumonia.
"The most prominent symptoms of the disease are acute respiratory infections with fever, shortness of breath and coughing," she said. "If left untreated, it can lead to complications, including kidney failure."
She reiterated people should follow basic hygiene to prevent infections.
"There is no clear indication how this can be prevented but basic hygiene needs to be followed," said Dr Al Jalahma.
Meanwhile, the ministry has set up teams to go around Bahrain's health facilities to educate health workers on how to deal with the infection.
"We are also providing all necessary materials to all health facilities to carry out tests," said Dr Al Jalahma. "Staff at the Public Health Laboratory have also been briefed." – TradeArabia News Service