C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 DOHA 000513
RIYADH FOR RMO (MANI SRINIVASAN)
E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/12/2019
TAGS: PREL PINR KFLU AEMR AMED ASEC CASC KFLO TBIO
KSAF, KPAO, AMGT, MG, QA
SUBJECT: H1N1 UPDATE IN QATAR: MEETING WITH MINISTRY OF
Classified By: CDA Mirembe L. Nantongo for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)
(C) KEY POINTS
-- (U) There have been 350 reported cases of the H1N1 virus
in Qatar, according to Government of Qatar (GOQ) officials.
This represents an increase from an earlier - probably
under-reported - figure of 43 reported cases. One American
has been quarantined in Doha and there has been one reported
fatality to date (a Qatari national).
-- (C) Foreign patients are being isolated in Qatar's medical
complex, while Qatari patients are quarantined at home.
-- (C) Officials at the Ministry of Health expect the number
of H1N1 cases to increase as residents return from summer
vacation and again when pilgrims return from the Hajj in late
November and early December.
-- (C) It is post's assessment that the increase in the
number of reported H1N1 cases in Qatar does not reflect a
rapid spread in the virus, but rather earlier under-reporting
by the authorities in an effort to prevent public panic.
-- (C) The GOQ appears knowledgeable about H1N1 and seem to
be taking appropriate steps to combat it. The GOQ does
appear, however, to be disbursing antiviral medication too
-- (C) Embassy obtained the GOQ Supreme Council of Health's
most recent Pandemic Update newsletter, dated August 13,
which provides hospitals and clinics with guidelines for
treating H1N1 cases. This document instructs health units to
test only high-risk patients - over 65 years old, under 2
years old, pregnant, and so on, - and those suffering from
severe respiratory illness. Given these instructions, it
seems unlikely the GOQ has an accurate count of H1N1 cases in
End Key Points and Comments.