Burma on alert as A/H1N1 cases mount

The Burmese government has said 16 people have been newly confirmed as carrying the A/H1N1 virus, although Rangoon residents say the number could be as high as 27.

A further eight high school students were today added to the list of eight people already infected with the virus in Rangoon since the beginning of this month. Five other people in Burma’s northwestern Chin state have also been diagnosed.

The students are from three separate schools in north Rangoon’s New Dagon township, and are currently being treated in hospital. A bulletin in the state-run New Light of Myanmar newspaper said that all are in good condition.

But a Rangoon resident who was at one of the hospitals where the students were taken has told DVB that he saw 27 people infected with the virus on the hospital’s ground floor.

Another added that despite health warnings issued by the government, Rangoon residents are not taking preventative measures such as covering their nose and mouth.

“This time the disease has been found in people who come from abroad but among people living in the country no one is really paying attention [to warnings],” he said.

Officials at both the government’s health administration department and the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Rangoon were not available for comment.

Last week more than 2500 chickens were culled in a Rangoon division township following an outbreak of the A/H5N1, or ‘bird flu’ virus.

An official at the Food and Agricultural Office (FAO) in Rangoon told DVB that the situation “was well under control” and that it had been kept to a small area.

Additional reporting by Nay Htoo

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