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Seasonal flu cases stable: Ministry

KUWAIT: Registered cases of seasonal flu have stabilized at 10 to 20 cases out of 100,000 persons, less than international records of 35 to 55 cases for the same benchmark, the Ministry of Health announced yesterday.

The Ministry’s Undersecretary for Public Health Affairs Dr Majedah Al-Qattan told a press conference that the Ministry has provided 130,000 vaccines for seasonal flu. She noted that prescribing persons of sensitive categories to take the vaccine is still under study, pointing out that this option is not compulsory in other countries for this segment. She added that the efficacy of the vaccine varies from 50 to 70 percent. The effectiveness of the vaccine depends on many factors such as: smoking, personal hygiene and healthy eating habits.

The number of flu cases in schools has not reached 5 in one school, adding the students form 25 percent of the society and the number of recorded flu cases among students is less than that recorded in the entire society; hence, there is no need to panic or worry about this seasonal flu.

The statistics on diseases and epidemics are calculated as a percentage for each 100 thousand persons. She advised persons of sensitive categories: pregnant women, seniors, or patients who have HIV to take vaccine against flu since they are most vulnerable to seasonal influenza viruses.

Meanwhile, chief of epidemics at the Ministry Dr Musab Al-Saleh said at the same conference that pregnant women can take the vaccine at any stage of their pregnancy, saying that “the vaccine is safe for everyone.” He denied rumors on the lack of safety of the vaccine, noting that the Health Ministry provides 100,000 vaccines against seasonal flu every year; this year it requested an additional 40,000. – KUNA

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