A/H1N1 flu epidemic escalating in Middle East

The influenza A/H1N1 epidemic swept over the Middle East region as infections continued to climb across the region and more countries previously immune to the flu saw their first confirmed cases.

Oman's Health Ministry last Wednesday confirmed its first three A/H1N1 cases, which was three Omani students studying in the United States, the first such cases in the Sultanate.

Algerian Health Ministry on Sunday confirmed the country's second case of A/H1N1 flu, just one day after the North African country found its first confirmed case.

One daughter of the Algerian woman arriving from the United States, who has been confirmed as the first case in Algeria Saturday, was diagnosed with A/H1N1 flu after undergoing tests.

The number of A/H1N1 flu cases in Jordan increased to nine after seven more cases were confirmed last Wednesday.

The seven patients, three Palestinians and four Jordanians, were all arrived from the U.S..

Earlier that day, Jordan Health Ministry said two Palestinians and a Jordanian were tested positive for the flu virus. During a second update that day, a Palestinian girl and three Jordanian youth who returned from a Scout camp tour in Washington were also confirmed infected with the virus.

The Moroccan health authorities on Thursday confirmed eight A/H1N1 flu cases since the introduction of the virus in the north African country on June 10, bring its total number of confirmed cases to 10.

Seven of the eight patients came on flights from Canada between June 9th to 15th, and the eighth came from the United States.

Egypt on Sunday reported five new confirmed A/H1N1 flu cases, bring to 39 the total number of confirmed cases in the most populous Arab country.

The five patients were an Egyptian-American girl who arrived from the U.S., an Egyptian-Canadian boy and his sister who arrived from Canada, an Egyptian 66-year-old woman who arrived from the U.S. and a 10-year-old Egyptian-American girl.

Egypt, which in late April killed all its pigs to keep the highly infectious flu out of the country, reported its first A/H1N1 flu case on June 2.

In Israel, after 39 new cases of A/H1N1 influenza were confirmed on Thursday, another 52 influenza A/H1N1 cases were reported over the weekend, these latest cases brought the total number of confirmed cases to 271 in the Jewish state since April.

So far, the influenza has been found in the Middle East, including Israel, Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Yemen, Morocco, Algeria and Oman.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 95 countries and regions have officially reported at least 44,287 cases of A/H1N1 flu, including 180 deaths.