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UAE - New flu cases decrease sharply

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  • UAE - New flu cases decrease sharply

    New flu cases decrease sharply

    Saturday, Mar 20, 2010

    Gulf News

    Abu Dhabi A few months ago, hospitals across the UAE were claiming they needed more staff to handle a feared spike in H1N1 cases. But health professionals now say they are seeing very few new cases of flu.

    After numerous public wareness campaigns during the past six months on the importance of overall hygiene in preventing the spread of swine flu, there seems to be less such campaigns.

    A recent statement sent to Gulf News by Dr Jamal Al Mutawa, Section Head, Communicable Diseases at Health Authority-Abu Dhabi, said: "The H1N1 influenza continues to have evidence of being active, but with declining transmission or remain low in Abu Dhabi."

    The specialist in trading and investment. Dr Charles Stanford, Senior Director in LifeLine Hospital, was one of the most active medical professionals to launch educational campaigns for school students regarding H1N1 prevention. When Gulf News spoke to him about updates regarding the disease he said: "We had up to 64 patients with H1N1 in last September, however since October we've witnessed a dramatic drop, with as little as one patient a month.

    "The spread of H1N1 awareness campaigns in the past few months, especially among school children, who were encouraged to use alcohol scrubs and hand sanitisers, can be a factor that contributed to the decline," Stanford said.

    Less patients complaining of influenza-like symptoms does not necessarily mean that the virus has disappeared, added the hospital director. "It just means that people are handling the disease themselves, by simply taking paracetamol, drinking lot of fluids and resting."

    Dr Ravi Arora, internist at the NMC Specialty Hospital, reported more than 400 patient visits with influenza-like symptoms, during August and September, which he claims were the peak months for H1N1 cases. In January, NMC reported 21 such cases to the HAAD
    , and only two cases in the past two weeks. "The virus is not spreading anymore. It could be because people are now taking adequate precautions," he said.

    A statement sent to Gulf News exclusively, from Dr. Jamal Al Mutawa, Section Head, Communicable Diseases at HAAD
    , said:
    "The Health Authority Abu Dhabi encourages all residents, especially those among the priority groups, to take the H1N1 vaccine in the pre-allocated medical centers and clinics, to protect themselves from catching the H1N1 influenza and further limit its spread in the community."
    Twitter: @RonanKelly13
    The views expressed are mine alone and do not represent the views of my employer or any other person or organization.