Jordan’s official Petra news agency announced on Tuesday the kingdom’s first two swine flu cases. Minister of Health Nayef Al Fayez said that the infections were found in two girls who had come from abroad and have since received treatment in Amman.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 35,928 people in 76 countries have contracted the H1N1, or swine flu virus in 2009. Of those 163 have died. The Middle East has not been heavily affected by the outbreak, but outbreaks have been recorded and are on the rise in recent weeks.
In Egypt, the Health Ministry confirmed two more cases of swine flu, where last month the government ordered the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of pigs to ward off a swine flu epidemic. The two cases were American students in the American University in Cairo. The university responded by canceling classes and quarantining the dormitory for a week. This brought the total number of swine flu cases in Egypt to eleven.
Today, the Lebanese Health Ministry diagnosed five people with the virus, bringing the total number of cases in the country to eight. The diagnosed were “isolated and treated,” according to a statement from the Health Ministry which added, “all patients are cured, and there is no local transmission of the disease.”
The number of confirmed swine flu cases in the Gulf jumped to 46 today as Qatar announced its first cases of swine flu in two children who arrived from the U.S. and Australia. This is in addition to eleven swine flu cases reported by the Ministry of Health in the United Arab Emirates. In addition, seven Bahraini students tested positive for swine flu after returning from the U.S Monday night. These cases are in addition to a Bahraini who tested positive for swine flu last month after returning from a trip to New York City. In Saudi Arabia, the Health Ministry announced three new cases of swine flu on Monday, pushing the total to fourteen in the kingdom since its first appearance earlier this month.
Israel has recorded the highest number of cases to date in the Middle East. The Jerusalem Post reported today that eighteen soldiers were infected with swine flu following contacts with fifteen infected teenagers in the Birthright Israel program. The teenagers were hospitalized along with the soldiers who were later released in good condition. This has pushed the number of swine flu cases in the country to 131 since April. The Palestinian High National Committee also confirmed Friday its second swine flu case in the West Bank city of Bethlehem.