DUBAI, 25 May 2009 (IRIN) – Confirmed cases of A(H1N1) influenza, commonly known as swine flu, have been reported in new countries in the Middle East. Hitherto only Israel had reported cases of the new influenza virus.

• The United Arab Emirates confirmed its first case of A(H1N1) on 24 May. Health Minister Hanif Hassan said a man who had flown in from Canada was being treated in one of the country’s hospitals. He was no longer showing symptoms, but would be kept under observation there for 10 days.

• In Kuwait, about 18 US soldiers at a military base have tested positive for A(H1N1). The Kuwaiti authorities announced on 24 May that all the soldiers had left the country, that they had normal symptoms of the disease, and that they were given the necessary medication. The head of Kuwait’s public health department, Yussef Mendkar, said the soldiers had had no contact with the local population.

• Israel, the first country to register confirmed cases in the region, announced its eighth case on 24 May.

• The authorities in Egypt’s Red Sea Governorate have hospitalised a German tourist who had arrived at Hurghada airport in the area with swine flu-like symptoms, according to a local newspaper. The man said he had visited a pig farm 10 days earlier in Germany. Medical samples have been sent to laboratories in Cairo for testing.