18 swine flu infected US troops have left Kuwait

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All 18 US soldiers infected with swine flu have recovered and left Kuwait, a health official said today.

"They were treated and they have fully recovered," said Youssef Mandakar, deputy head of Kuwait's public health department. He said the soldiers showed "mild symptoms" of the disease upon their arrival at an air force base.

He declined to say when they arrived or from where.

Kuwait announced Saturday that a number of American soldiers passing through the country were infected, but it didn't say how many. The US Embassy and the military had declined to give any details other than they were being treated and only two were still hospitalized.

Mandakar said the troops didn't have any contacts with the local population and they were treated at US military facilities.

Kuwait is a major ally of Washington and a logistics base for US military personnel serving in Iraq.

Kuwait is screening passengers arriving at its international airport. It has around 10 million doses of antiviral drugs for treating any cases of swine flu. Other than the transiting soldiers, no cases have been detected here.

The World Health Organization's global tally now stands at 12,022 cases and 86 deaths in 42 countries.

More than half of those cases have been reported in the United States, while most of the deaths occurred in Mexico, where the virus was first detected last month.