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Another false negative

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  • Another false negative

    This time in Bahrain:

    Bahraini tests positive for swine flu on retest

    26 May 2009

    MANAMA: Bahrain registered its first swine flu case yesterday after retesting a 21-year-old Bahraini who was cleared of the viral infection a day earlier.
    "The patient is being kept in isolation at the quarantine ward of SMC
    (Salmaniya Medical ComplexSalmaniya Medical Complex)," a Health Ministry spokesperson said last night.

    An official, who did not want to be named, said the patient had been studying in the United States.

    On Sunday, the man was transferred from a private hospital to SMC... after he showed flu-like symptoms. It was then that he was given the initial test, which the Health Ministry reported came out negative for the A/H1N1 virus.

    Yesterday, health authorities decided to double-check the results. The man's family was also being checked last night. The patient is being monitored and treated with anti-flu medication.

    Meanwhile, health authorities have urged the public to contact them at their hotlines set up to educate people about the viral infection.

    Last week, a four-year-old British girl underwent testing. Last month, a 41-year-old American traveler was the first swine flu suspect in the island. He arrived here from Washington via Frankfurt and had swine flu symptoms. In both cases the patients tested negative.

    Health authorities will be conducting this week a series of workshop for medical staff who will be assigned to monitor the health of Bahrainis intending to perform Haj later this year. Health ministries in the Gulf are taking extra precaution to avoid any outbreak of swine flu after the Haj, which takes place in November.

    Health authorities say they are keeping a watch at all entry points. Bahrain's health authorities have set up an isolation room near the immigration counter at the King Fahd Causeway to be used as a quarantine area for any traveler found suffering from flu symptoms.

    The A/H1N1 virus has so far proven to be a mild strain of influenza, far less deadly than the bird-to-human form of the avian A/H5N1 virus that jumped to humans in 1997 but has since been kept under control. However, health officials are concerned that the swine flu virus could mutate into a more dangerous form as it spreads.

    Arab News 2009