Myanmar faces two influenza attacks in rainy season

Source: Xinhua| 2017-08-01 11:37:33|Editor: Xiang Bo
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By Feng Yingqiu

YANGON, Aug. 1 (Xinhua) -- Myanmar is facing two influenza attacks in the rainy season of July, namely A/H1N1-2009 (swine flu) and H5N1 (bird flu), with the prior case claiming the lives of 10 people and the latter leaving 5,000 chickens culled.

The swine flu broke out on July 21 mainly in Yangon and the victims are out of 51 patients suspected of carrying the virus, accounting for 5.49 percent of the mortality rate of the disease.

The bird flu occurred on July 26 in Dawei township, southern Tanintharyi region.

The Infectious Disease Control Branch of the Ministry of Health and Sports is adopting a program based on expert analysis of the infection and future possibilities.

The ministry called for strict observance of its directives and announcements to mitigate the infection rate of the disease.

A special meeting on effective preventive and control measures was held in Yangon in the weekend, during which Minister of Health and Sports Dr. Myint Htwe called for releasing real information on the seasonal influenza A/H1N1 pdm09 in real time.

The minister pointed out that heightened public awareness, self-protection plus self-control and strict observance of the directives issued by the ministry as vitally important steps against the seasonal influenza.

A large number of pamphlets and posters are in distribution across the country, calling for avoiding crowds, frequent washing of hands, use of disposable tissues when sneezing and coughing and cleaning of utensils and plates before use.

The measures being taken include emergency response, monitoring, prevention and control, treatment and health awareness activities.

In response to the outbreak of the swine flu and prevention against huge crowd gathering, the authorities have decided to postpone a popular religious festival, the Taung Byone festival, which is scheduled from July 31 to Aug. 7 in Mandalay region, till the seasonal influenza is under control.

About 100,000 people visit the festival daily, raising concerns for such a huge crowd gathering while the H1N1 is spreading fast among people.

As for avian influenza, it broke out at a farm in Dawei, southern Tanintharyi region on July 26 after the dead chickens were confirmed to have contracted with influenza type A/ H5N1 positive.

In the following days, some dead chickens in Yangon's Mayangon township were also tested and confirmed for being infected with H5N1.

Myanmar's Livestock Breeding and Veterinary Department has called for cooperation in bird flu prevention measures and diagnostic assessment following the outbreak of Avian Influenza in the southern coastal city.

Measures are being taken to control the virus in accordance with the steps of the bird flu prevention and control plan.

Avian influenza cases occurred in Myanmar for the first time in 2006 and so far eight cases have happened in the country up to 2016. Tanintharyi region was reported with the flu for the first time.

Informed by the World Veterinary Association that influenza type A/H5N1 can break out at any season, Myanmar is raising bio-safety measures at poultry farms under the guide lines of the association.