May 23, 2009 / 5:12 PM / 10 years ago

U.S. soldiers are Kuwait's first cases of H1N1 flu

KUWAIT (Reuters) - U.S. soldiers have been confirmed as the first cases in Kuwait with the new H1N1 flu, the state news agency KUNA said on Saturday quoting a government official.

The virus was detected in an unspecified number of soldiers on their way through Kuwait. Some were quarantined in their base for treatment and some had left the country, KUNA said.

They were the first confirmed cases in the Gulf, the world’s largest oil exporting region. Kuwait is a logistics base for the U.S. army in support of its troops in Iraq.

“The American soldiers, whose names or ages were not disclosed, arrived in Kuwait on transit, they were examined and given appropriate medication,” Health Undersecretary Ibrahim al-Abdulhadi told KUNA.

In a statement to KUNA, the U.S. embassy said: “We are aware that H1N1 influenza cases have been tentatively confirmed among U.S. military personnel assigned abroad, including soldiers transiting via U.S. military bases in Kuwait.”

It added: “They have not come into any contact with the Kuwaiti population.”

More details would be given at a news conference on Sunday, KUNA said.

Health officials were not immediately available for comment.

The World Health Organization is poised to declare a full pandemic of the H1N1 flu virus, which has infected more than 11,000 people in 42 countries and killed 86.

Reporting by Eman Goma; Editing by Andrew Dobbie

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