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Burma confirms first swine flu case

June 29, 2009 (DVB), A 13-year-old girl has become the first confirmed carrier of the H1N1 swine flu virus in Burma after being hospitalized on 26 June following a trip to Singapore last week, a Burmese newspaper reported on Saturday.

Rangoon General Hospital is now carrying out blood tests on a number of people suspected of having the H1N1 virus.

Burma has employed the use of medical tests at airports and border crossing points since the outbreak first began in Mexico in April this year.

Upon arrival at Rangoon International Airport, however, the girl had shown no suspicious symptoms. It was only when she came down with a fever and coughing fit around 9 hours later that she was taken to hospital.

The girl, who has not been identified, is being kept in intensive care at the Rangoon hospital, said the state-run New Light of Myanmar newspaper.

Doctors are reportedly keeping the 91 other passengers on the flight under surveillance, along with family and friends whom the girl had contact between arriving back and being admitted to hospital.

A youth who returned from Singapore last week said that medical checks at the Rangoon airport that were strict when the outbreak first surfaced had now become less so.

"They have been a bit lax lately as they found no one with the illness," he said.

"If they checked it properly, it would certainly appear. It won’t escape."

Around 350 people worldwide have died from the disease since the first case was reported in Mexico in April this year.

Earlier this month, the World Health Organisation (WHO) raised its alert level to 6, the first since 1968, declaring it a pandemic with "moderate severity".

A Burmese physician, Dr Thiya Maung, said in April that Burma may not be able to deal with an outbreak on its own.

"I think they [Burmese government] don't have adequate drug stocks and laboratories or any investigative materials.

"I think they would need help from neighboring countries like Thailand," he said.

Reporting by Yee May Aung

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