Tourists in Burma not tested for H1N1

July 10, 2009 (DVB), The thousands of tourists entering Burma each day across the Thai-Burma border are not being adequately checked for the A/H1N1 swine flu virus, say locals living near to border checkpoints.

Last month Burma confirmed its first case of A/H1N1, that of a 13-year-old girl who was diagnosed with the illness upon returning from Singapore.

According to state-run media in Burma, the girl has now recovered and was discharged from hospital on Thursday.

A hotel employee working on Thahtay Kyun island in the Andaman Sea south of Burma's Tenasserim division said the casino receives about 150 visitors from Thailand each day.

However the nearby Burmese immigration checkpoint in Kawthaung is doing nothing to control the spread of the A/H1N1 virus, he said.

"The immigration in Kawthaung only checks for documents from the visitors but they don't do anything to check for the influenza, apart from some medical assistants in the town briefly checking people coming in from [nearby] Ranong," he said.

The lack of preventative measures were causing concern, he said, given the number of people in Thailand who have been diagnosed with the virus.

A Burmese business owner in Thai border town of Mae Sai, across from Tachilek town in Shan state, said that [Burmese] medical assistants sitting at the border checkpoints are only assessing those who looked sick.

"They do check people who look nauseous but not everyone," he said.

A local in the Burmese border town of Myawaddy in Karen state, across from Mae Sot in Thailand, said there was also little change from the normal protocol of inspecting at the checkpoint there.

Reporting by Thurein Soe

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