Friday, July 3, 2009

Cambodia Announces Presence of A/H1N1 Case

BY BUTH REAKSMEY KONGKEA

The Government has confirmed the presence of the influenza A/ H1N1 virus in Cambodia and called on Cambodian people to be careful, but to avoid panic.

Prime Minister Hun Sen announced that four people have been affected with the A/H1N1 virus and a further six people are under the strict observation of Cambodian medical authorities.

Samdech Hun Sen said that the four cases are the first to be discovered in Cambodia, following the spread of the virus in neighboring countries and regions.

“We have four A/H1N1 cases in Cambodia now, but we should not be surprised by this situation. I appeal to all people in Cambodia to be careful and not to panic. Some countries have experienced thousands of cases but they manage to keep the situation in perspective,” he said during opening remarks delivered to a graduation ceremony on June 25 in Phnom Penh.

“We have to take care and treat those infected people until they get better. We will not allow them to go back their countries because it will infect other people on the plane or other countries en route,” he said.

The Prime Minister called on the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, other concerned authorities, and relevant NGOs to take all measures against the spread of the virus.

Dr. Mam Bunheng, Minister of Health, said that so far, the virus has affected four people and a further six people are being monitored by his ministry.

Dr. Bunheng confirmed that the four people are students, including three females and one male aged between 16 and 20. They arrived from Texas through Phnom Penh International Airport on June 18. He pointed out that his ministry found the first swine flu case in a 16-year-old girl on June 23 after she arrived in Phnom Penh on June 19.

He added the four are now staying under his ministry’s supervision in an isolation room together, with regular examinations from doctors at the Calmette Hospital. They are also prevented from leaving the hospital.

In dealing with the appearance of the A/H1N1 virus, Dr. Bunheng said that his ministry has already prepared isolation rooms and other facilities at principle hospitals in cities and provinces across the country.

The Minister said that his ministry has also installed thermal scanners at the airports including International Phnom Penh Airport and Siem Reap Airport. Other important checkpoints have been set up at the International Poipet Checkpoint, Koh Kong Checkpoint and Bavet Checkpoint in Svay Rieng Province.

He added that the ministry has also prepared about 300,000 doses of medicine, along with other medical supplies and equipment, and has distributed this material to all the state hospitals and health centers throughout the country.
"To prevent the spread of the disease, the Ministry of Health and Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries, in partnership with the World Health Organization, will continue to monitor the situation very closely and keep the public well informed of any updates as they happen in Cambodia," he told the joint press conference on June 25.

The minister called on the public to practice good personal hygiene at all times to prevent the spread of Influenza A/H1N1 or report to the hospitals or health centers for treatment whenever infection is suspected.

Dr. Michael O’Leary, WHO Representative in Cambodia, said that Cambodia is the latest country to be affected by the spread of the A/H1N1 virus.

Dr. O’Leary said that so far, the virus has spread to more than 100 countries, including Cambodia, China and Thailand, and has killed at least 250 people, while infecting as many as 56,000 people around the world.

He added that to prevent the spread of the A/H1N1 virus in Cambodia, WHO will cooperate, closely with the Cambodian government to provide as solid a guarantee of good health as possible. ////


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