The A/H1N1 flu continued to spread worldwide on Sunday, after Iceland confirmed its first case and Kuwait detected the disease in U.S. soldiers passing through the Gulf country in transit on Saturday.
"It was only a matter of time when it show up here," Haraldur Briem, a main epidemiologist working on A/H1N1 in Iceland, said on Saturday.
He said the patient was a man recently returning from New York and four other members of his family were being tested for signs of infection after they returned to Iceland from the United States.
Briem said the man only presented some mild symptoms and that he might not have infected anybody else onboard the flight to Iceland because he was not showing any symptoms on arrival.
Also Saturday, Kuwait's state news agency KUNA reported that an unspecified number of U.S. soldiers transiting through the country have been detected with the A/H1N1 flu virus. These were the first confirmed cases in the Gulf emirate.
Undersecretary of Health Ibrahim al-Abdulhadi told KUNA that some remained quarantined for treatment at the U.S. base in Arifjan, 70 km south of the capital Kuwait City, and some had left the country.
The U.S. military said in a statement that "each case was characterized as being a mild flu-like symptom," while the U.S. embassy said the soldiers did not come into contact with the Kuwait population.
About 15,000 US soldiers are stationed in the Gulf state, which is also used as a main logistics base for the U.S. army to support its troops in Iraq.
Further details will be released at a news conference on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Britain, which has the most A/H1N1 flu cases in Europe, said Saturday that two new cases have been confirmed, bringing the country's total to 122.
The British Health Ministry said one of the cases was in London and another in eastern England while the source of infection remained under investigation.
The ministry also noted that attempts to contain the spread of the disease by prescribing anti-viral drugs appear to be working.
In Japan, nursery schools and day-cares reopened Saturday in Hyogo Prefecture and schools will resume classes on Monday in Osaka Prefecture.
The Japanese government on Friday adopted a new policy on battling the new flu to allow for more flexible responses to minimize the impact on people's daily life and business activities amid the domestic outbreak of the disease.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) and government data, the A/H1N1 virus has so far infected more than 12,022 people and claimed 91 lives.
(Xinhua News Agency May 24, 2009)