Officials swing into action after hospital MERS cases

Updated 30 October 2015
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Officials swing into action after hospital MERS cases

JEDDAH: The General Directorate of Health Affairs in Al-Ahsa has intensified its infection control measures following the announcement of seven confirmed cases of MERS in a private hospital, even as a kindergarten has been closed for a couple of days in Jeddah due to a suspected case.
The first case was reported in the emergency room, from where the infection spread to two other inpatient departments, Abdulrahman Al-Sidrani, the spokesperson of the Al-Ahsa Health Affairs, was quoted as saying by local media on Thursday. “Five more cases were confirmed, in addition to another unrelated case and a case involving a nurse.”
According to Al-Sidrani, emergency and precautionary measures have been taken, including transferring all cases to King Fahd Hospital in Hofuf and stopping admission of scheduled cases with the exception of critical ones.
“The other measures include full implementation of infection control requirements, isolating and checking all individuals who came in contact with the patients, including their family members at home, the hospital staff, and those who entered and exited the hospital since the first case was reported, and informing all hospitals of the outbreak, and implementing all the directives of the command and control center in a timely manner.”
Meanwhile, a kindergarten has been closed for two days in Jeddah after a child showed symptoms of MERS, local media reported.
Abdulmajid Al-Ghamdi, spokesman for the Department of Education in Jeddah, confirmed the suspected case and said that the health directorate is closely following up on the case.
Meanwhile, several private hospitals have set up isolation departments for patients of the H1N1 virus. Faisal Al-Zahrani, official spokesperson of the Ministry of Health, was quoted as saying that “many of the cases identified throughout the Kingdom are merely cases of the seasonal flu, and the the ministry will begin its vaccination campaign against flu next Monday.”
He said that 400 positive cases have been identified throughout the Kingdom and that the patients were given appropriate treatment and are recovering.
Commenting on the spread of the diseases, he said: “Transmission usually occurs in places of large gatherings, and in schools and among young people. Those with respiratory diseases are also highly susceptible.”
“The Ministry of Health, upon learning of any case, rapidly sends a specialized medical team, isolates the suspected patient and monitors all those who came in contact with the individual,” said Al-Zahrani.


Saudi Arabia’s first ‘smart’ pharmacy inaugurated

Updated 59 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia’s first ‘smart’ pharmacy inaugurated

TABUK: Prince Fahd bin Sultan, governor of Tabuk region, inaugurated the Kingdom’s first smart pharmacy — operated by a robot — at King Fahd Specialist Hospital on Thursday, following his meeting with the province’s director general of health affairs, Ghurmallah bin Abdullah Al-Ghamdi.
It is hoped that the smart pharmacy — which can dispense 1,500 packages of medicine per hour, store over 20,000 packages of medicine, reject expired drugs, and deal with 240 prescriptions per hour — will save the time of patients and pharmacists, ensure better control of drug stocks, provide the highest safety standards, and reduce medication errors.
The pharmacy has six outlets, one of which is dedicated to serving disabled people.
Prince Fahd congratulated Tabuk Health Affairs on this achievement, which he said would contribute to better health care services.
He stressed that serving citizens was the main objective and praised the role of young men and women in meeting the requirements of the future.
He also thanked King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for their support for the health care sector in Saudi Arabia.
Al-Ghamdi thanked Prince Fahd for his support for the health care sector in the province.