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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
09ABUDHABI638
2009-06-22 10:52:00
UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Embassy Abu Dhabi
Cable title:  

UAE CONFIRMS 5 H1N1 CASES, WANTS USG TRAINING

Tags:   PGOV  KFLU  AEMR  ASEC  AMED  CASC  KFLO  TBIO  KSAF  KPAO 
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VZCZCXRO2101
RR RUEHDE RUEHDH RUEHDIR
DE RUEHAD #0638 1731052
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 221052Z JUN 09    ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY ABU DHABI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2636
INFO RUEHAM/AMEMBASSY AMMAN 0918
RUEHBK/AMEMBASSY BANGKOK 0203
RUEHZM/GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL COLLECTIVE
						UNCLAS ABU DHABI 000638 

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR NEA/ARP
AMMAN FOR ESTH HUB (BHALLA)
STATE PLEASE PASS USTR (JBUNTIN, JDOHERTY)

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV KFLU AEMR ASEC AMED CASC KFLO TBIO KSAF KPAO
PREL, PINR, AMGT, TF, AE
SUBJECT: UAE CONFIRMS 5 H1N1 CASES, WANTS USG TRAINING

REFS: A) ABU DHABI 531
B) ABU DHABI 520
C) ABU DHABI 472
D) ABU DHABI 435
E) ABU DHABI 432
F) ABU DHABI 431

UNCLAS ABU DHABI 000638

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR NEA/ARP
AMMAN FOR ESTH HUB (BHALLA)
STATE PLEASE PASS USTR (JBUNTIN, JDOHERTY)

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV KFLU AEMR ASEC AMED CASC KFLO TBIO KSAF KPAO
PREL, PINR, AMGT, TF, AE
SUBJECT: UAE CONFIRMS 5 H1N1 CASES, WANTS USG TRAINING

REFS: A) ABU DHABI 531
B) ABU DHABI 520
C) ABU DHABI 472
D) ABU DHABI 435
E) ABU DHABI 432
F) ABU DHABI 431


1. (SBU) SUMMARY: The Ministry of Health reported publicly on June
21 that it had confirmed five cases of H1N1 influenza, and told us
privately that it had a sixth under surveillance. Ministry
officials told EmbOffs that the sixth - a nurse - would be the first
case of domestic transmission of the virus, if confirmed. The UAE
is now conducting H1N1 testing at three domestic facilities. The
deputy Health Minister requested a US influenza expert conduct an
urgent awareness workshop for 20-30 Ministry officials, in an effort
to educate the public. Despite the Ministry's efforts (reftels),
residents continue to resist basic prevention efforts even as they
express rising concern about the virus. END SUMMARY.

FIVE CASES CONFIRMED
--------------


2. (SBU) During a June 21 meeting with EconChief and ConChief,
Ministry of Health Director General (deputy minister equivalent) and
Chairman of the Technical Health Committee on Combating Swine Flu
Dr. Ali bin Shukr reported the UAE had identified five H1N1 cases
and was testing a sixth. The first case - a Pakistani resident who
had visited Canada in May, was followed by an Emirati national who
had returned from United States (via Thailand) and was confirmed to
have H1N1 on June 17. Both have recovered and been released. Bin
Shukr said three additional cases were confirmed June 18 among other
residents who had traveled abroad. One is an Emirati national who
is a pilot; another is an expatriate woman who arrived from abroad
on June 19. A sixth case currently under surveillance is a nurse
who had been in contact with a confirmed case.


3. (SBU) Although all cases apparently were exposed to H1N1
overseas, Bin Shukr said their illnesses were not detected at the
airport on arrival. (Note: Thermal scans have been installed at
Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and Al Ain airports, as well as land
borders, although arriving USG officials report not all passengers
are scanned, particularly at the land ports of entry. End Note.)
Bin Shukr said that the UAE now has H1N1 testing facilities at three
local hospitals; results are available within 36 hours. Medical
professionals determine if testing is required based on patients'
symptoms and exposure risks.

PUBLIC AWARENESS CHALLENGES
--------------


4. (SBU) Noting that there is now a degree of "panic" among
residents, Bin Shukr asked if a CDC or other USG official could
visit the UAE to conduct a workshop for MoH officials. Bin Shukr
said an overview of key issues related to detection, transmission,
prevention and public awareness would reinforce the Ministry's
efforts. He noted that US expertise would be particularly well
received by the local populace. With four cases confirmed in the
past week, local residents are expressing rising concern. Many
embassy contacts are reporting they are considering cancelling plans
to vacation in the United States this summer.


5. (SBU) As an example of the challenge public health officials
face, bin Shukr told EmbOffs that the second case - an Emirati man -
had gone to a hospital when ill, but refused to stay for treatment.
Bin Shukr said, upon his recommendation, the hospital called the
police to ensure the man did not leave. The patient's father then
came to the hospital to intervene; the police presence changed his
mind.
GREENE