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Flu alert as killer virus deaths rise in Gulf

Manama, September 6, 2013

Vulnerable groups are being warned to report to their nearest health centre immediately if they develop flu symptoms, after a killer virus claimed another victim in the Gulf this week, a report said.

Health officials are advising people in Bahrain to take the threat of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (MERS-CoV) seriously, especially with flu season starting next month, reported the Gulf Daily News.

Pregnant women, the elderly and people with chronic diseases are most at risk, said Health Ministry health promotion director Dr Amal Al Jowder.

"Bahrain is free from the novel coronavirus with not a single case registered," she said. "But that does not mean that precautionary measures should be taken lightly."

She told the GDN that with the flu season approaching people should take extra precautions.

"The elderly, pregnant women and people with chronic diseases are among the high-risk groups to contract the virus and especially with the coronavirus cases in neighbouring countries, they should not take any chances," said Dr Al Jowder.

She stressed there were no suspected cases of the deadly virus in Bahrain, but said officials had drawn up contingency plans in the event of any outbreak.

"People should not panic as there is nothing to worry about, but if there are flu symptoms they should not ignore them and visit the hospital," she said.

Health officials will next month start screening an estimated 15,000 Bahraini pilgrims expected to travel to Saudi Arabia during the Haj season.

The Bahrain Haj medical team will be carrying more than 300 types of medicines to counter any threat of the virus and help pilgrims.

Private hospitals must report all suspected cases of the coronavirus to a ministry hotline and submit a written report within 24 hours.

Health officials have to inform the World Health Organisation (WHO) of any confirmed case.

Symptoms include fever, cough and breathing difficulties, but there is no specific treatment or vaccination.

According to the WHO, the total number of MERS-CoV cases globally since last September is 108 - including 50 deaths.

Earlier this week, a Qatari woman died after being infected with the virus. Two more people, both Qataris aged 29 and 59, were also treated for the infection in Doha.

The symptoms of the virus include fever and cough, and can lead to pneumonia and kidney failure. – TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Virus | flu | MERS |

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