Health Ministry urges calm over H1N1 flu outbreak

By NYAN HLAING LYNN | FRONTIER

NAY PYI TAW — Officials from Myanmar’s Ministry of Health and Sports have downplayed concerns over reports of an influenza outbreak, amid public concerns over the potential spread of the virus in Yangon.

Dr Than Tun Aung, the ministry deputy director-general for the Department of Infectious Diseases, confirmed reports that 13 people had been diagnosed with the H1N1 virus.

One had died from the flu in Chin State’s Matupi Township, with a further 10 treated for the illness. A further two people are undergoing treatment in an isolation ward at the Yangon General Hospital.

Than Tun Aung said the virus was not a major concern and cautioned people to remain calm.

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“I don’t want people to fear it,” he told Frontier. “The death rate is just one in ten thousand, so people don’t need to fear it greatly. But it is a little severe when compared to other flu strains.”

Health officials say anyone experiencing symptoms of the flu and worried about infection can visit any hospital or clinic, where updated treatment protocols have been issued.

Than Tun Aung also urged the public to take measures to prevent the seasonal illness from spreading.

“If you need to cough, cover your face. Wear a mask. Wash your hands often. Stay away from crowds. Eat balanced nutrients. Don’t ask children to go to school if they are ill. Preventable means like that must be given priority,” he said.

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