The H1N1 virus, which has been causing infections throughout Myanmar (Burma) for the past several weeks, has not yet been detected in Mon State, according to Dr. Zaw Min Htun head of the state’s Public Health Department. On July 28 he met with the Mon State Hluttaw (parliament) to brief them on the spread of the virus, also known as Swine Flu.
“At present, we have no confirmed cases of H1N1 in Mon State. Two children with severe pneumonia who were suspected of having the disease were transferred to Yangon General Hospital, but they tested negative for the virus,” Dr. Zaw Min Htun told reporters after briefing the Hluttaw. The two patients were a young girl from Kyaikmaraw Township and a boy from Ye Township.
He added that if anyone begins to sneeze, cough or feel flu-like achiness, they should seek medical attention. Besides that, anyone feeling sick should use a handkerchief when sneezing and coughing to prevent the spread of the virus. The flu is generally only communicable within a range of six feet, so residents should stay away from those already infected and wear masks in public places.
“The government has agreed to increasing police monitoring of vehicles carrying animals—especially chickens—coming into Mon State via Ye Township and from Three Pagoda Pass to Thanbyuzayat, to prevent the spread of H1N1,” said Dr Aung Naing Oo, the deputy speaker of the Mon State Hluttaw who is also a veterinarian.
He added that beginning on July 31 government representatives would give prevention trainings in Mon State’s 10 townships to raise awareness about the virus.
On July 28 a 30-year old women with flu-like symptoms was transferred from Mawlamyine’s Zarni Aung clinic to Yangon General Hospital. It is not known yet whether she was infected with H1N1.
Shortly after the virus emerged in 2009 the World Health Organization (WHO) declared it a Pandemic. That distinction has since ended, and H1N1 is now considered a regular seasonal flu. It is not considered particularly dangerous, though the WHO encourages people younger than six and older than 65 to take extra precautions to avoid exposure. The virus is spread when small droplets of virus are expelled in the sneeze or cough of a sickened person.
According to a statement from the Union Ministry of Health and Sports, at least 30 people were hospitalized with the virus between July 19 and 28, six of whom died. However the real mortality rate is probably significantly lower than 20%, because most people with regular flu-like symptoms do not seek treatment until they become seriously ill.
by Mon News Agency (MNA)