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Coronavirus Pandemic

Coronavirus: No influx of seasonal flu patients in UAE hospitals

Dhanusha Gokulan/Dubai
Filed on January 31, 2020 | Last updated on January 31, 2020 at 06.34 am
coronavirus, seasonal, uae hospital, flu, china, virus

(Photo: Shihab/KT)

The doctors advised UAE residents to not overact to symptoms of seasonal flu.

Senior medical professionals and doctors in Dubai and Abu Dhabi have explicitly said there has been no influx of patients presenting doctors with seasonal flu symptoms demanding treatment for novel coronavirus.

The doctors said chances of an individual contracting the Wuhan virus is only high if they have a recent travel history to China, have interacted with patients suffering from the disease, and if they are medical professionals who are interacting with patients.

The doctors also advised UAE residents to not overact to symptoms of seasonal flu - such as blocked noses, sore throats, and mild fever.

Dr Magdi Mohamed, a consultant, Emergency Medicine at Abu Dhabi's Burjeel Hospital said, "In case of influx, we did not notice any increase in cases of people rushing to the Emergency presenting symptoms of regular flu."

He added, "In comparison to the previous coronavirus epidemics such as SARS, MERS and the H1N1, we have not noticed any fear factors among people."

The high number of flu cases in the UAE are due to changing weather patterns and not all are cases of the dreaded Novel Coronavirus, said Shaheena Surani, the Head of Infection Control, Medcare Hospitals and Medical Centres. She echoed Dr Mohamed's sentiments and said, "People are well aware. I've seen school children, taxi drivers, and regular residents take precautionary steps to protect themselves against viruses."

She added, "There have been some cases of H1N1 and many seasonal flu cases. However, this is normal this time of the year."

How is the Wuhan different from regular flu?

According to Dr Mohamed, "Technically, it is very difficult to differentiate between the two. The virus has an incubation period of two weeks."

He explained, "However, the biggest factor is - recent travel history. Anyone who has recently visited China, a healthcare worker who has been handling confirmed cases and individuals who have interacted with confirmed cases are most susceptible to the disease."

In terms of symptoms - fever, cough, throat pain, nasal congestion, body pain, and breathlessness are major symptoms of the regular flu. "In the case of nCov, you could feel the symptoms with a bit more intensity. Breathlessness is also a major symptom. However, if you've travelled to China recently, you have more reason to worry."

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