07/14/2009, 00.00
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Swine flue: Indonesia fears combination of avian and swine flues

A total of 86 cases have been reported in Indonesia. Thailand shuts down 435 schools and 200 kindergartens in Bangkok for disinfection. In Saudi Arabia one school is closed after 20 students test positive. Bahrain tells people to avoid pilgrimage to Makkah.
Jakarta (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Indonesia’s Health Ministry announced that there is a high risk that the swine and avian flues might combine in the archipelago. In a public statement it reported that 22 people were infected by the A/H1N1 flu virus, bringing the total cases to 86 in the country, ranging in age from 2 to 58 years. As a result the authorities raised the alert level to six.

According to figures released by the World Health Organisation the pandemic has been found in 135 countries; a total of 94,512 cases have been reported with 429 deaths.

A number of Asian nations have been among the hardest hit with Thailand topping the list with 4.057 cases. In fact in Bangkok the authorities have shut down 435 schools and some 200 kindergartens.

Gulf States are also increasingly alarmed. In Saudi Arabia a school was closed, whilst in Bahrain the government is urging people to postpone any plans for pilgrimage to Makkah.

The Saudi Ministry of Education on Monday ordered the closure of an international school in Riyadh after 20 students tested positive for swine flu. Officials, however, declined to identify the school except to say that it is “East Asian.”

The 20 flu cases at the school, plus the additional 12 cases identified since Sunday, bring the total count of Saudi swine flu cases to 216.

The Ministry of Health has intensified its awareness program against swine flu throughout the Kingdom by sending SMS text messages to mobile phone users.

The message reads: “We have embarked on an intensive campaign to educate the masses on the preventive measures that should be taken to fight the disease”.

In Bahrain the authorities have also issued their own advisory, telling pregnant women, children, the elderly, and people suffering from chronic diseases to postpone plans for Umrah (pilgrimage to Makkah) because of the swine flu.

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See also
Swine flu pushes authorities to warn pilgrims to be prudent about pilgrimage to Makkah
Swine flu: more cases in Thailand, China and India
Tehran bans pilgrimage to Makkah because of the swine flu
Human-to-human bird flu transmission feared in Indonesia
Asian battleground key to beating bird flu virus


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