Bangladesh on alert after A(H1N1) flu infection accelerates
April 20, 2010 7:47 pm
DHAKA, April 20 — Bangladesh has directed health officials across the country to remain on alert after finding A(H1N1) flu to rapidly spread this month, officials said Tuesday.
They said the disease had been sustaining at lower level in Bangladesh during January-March period of 2010 but this month it spread hastily infecting many across the country, posing a fresh threat of massive outbreak.
"So, we've asked all officials concerned to remain on alert," Mahmudur Rahman, Head of the country's Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) under the Health Ministry, told Xinhua Tuesday.
He said the total number of the identified flu cases in the country stood at 956 till Tuesday while the number of cases were 814 untill December, 2009 since June of the same year.
Regarding whether there is any possibility of major outbreak of the disease in the country in the coming months, Rahman said the possibility is very low, as they have adequate preparations to contain the spread of the disease.
"The virus sustained at a lower level in Bangladesh during January-March period but it showed rising trend since the beginning of this month," he said, adding this is not something unusual as April-September period is considered to be the peak season of the disease.
He did not cite the exact number of people infected by the disease so far this month but said that the April's figure is not something negligible compared to the first three months of 2010 and confirmed that no one died due to the flu this year.
According to the official record of the Bangladesh Health Ministry, the A(H1N1) flu death toll in the country in 2009 rose to 6.
A 35-year old female flu positive patient in Aug. 31, 2009 died in Dhaka which was first fatality the country has had since recording its first A(H1N1) case on June 18. Three people died until the first week of October, 2009 since June while three other died in the later October and early November period.
Following the resurrection of the disease this month in Bangladesh and some neighboring countries, a senior Health Ministry official said the government has asked the health officials in the country's all 64 districts and 480 sub-districts to further be aware of it.
"We're not sitting idle, we're all set to combat the disease," the official, who asked to be unnamed, said.
Rahman, however, said Bangladesh will very shortly launch flu vaccination program as part of its efforts to protect people.
"As part of our strengthening measures we're now collecting flu samples from 28 points of the country instead of 14 earlier," he said, adding there is nothing to be much worried following the disease's rapid outbreak this month as there is also huge supply of medicines in the Health Ministry's stock.
The country's Health Ministry had already permitted the marketing of A(H1N1) flu vaccine 'Oseltamivir' in the country.
The Bangladeshi government had earlier asked hospitals and clinics in the country to treat anyone who displays symptoms of A(H1N1) flu rather than waste time to have test report. (PNA/Xinhua)