H1N1 outbreak hits Saudi mental hospital

Windsor Genova – Fourth Estate Cooperative Contributor

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (4E) – Saudi health authorities reported Sunday at least eight cases of H1N1 infections at the Al-Amal mental hospital in Riyadh.

The infected people were given Tamiflu vaccine while 27 other people, including four nurses, suspected of having the influenza virus were quarantined.

Staff of the hospital also took precautionary measures, including wearing masks when dealing with patients, and cancelling an party celebrating the Eid al-Adha Muslim festival.

The latest H1N1 outbreak in the kingdom was discovered 18 days ago but was not disclosed to avoid panic among haj pilgrims, according to spokesman of Health Affairs Directorate in Riyadh Saad Al Qahtani.

The virus first reached Saudi Arabia in 2009 brought by an infected Filipino nurse working at King Faisal Specialized Hospital.

Last month, a Saudi boy vacationing with his family in Hong Kong was diagnosed with the virus but recovered. In September, a 60-year-old Saudi man died from the virus and a 49-year-old Qatari man was infected with it after traveling to the kingdom. The Qatari man has recovered after being treated in a hospital in London.

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