Sunday, February 25, 2024

Swine flu cases stand at 22 with 2 more detections

The Institute of Epidemiology Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) yesterday confirmed two more cases of swine flu, bringing the number to 18 in the country.
A young man and woman, aged between 20 to 22, currently residing in Dhaka, got the infection through their relatives, who had recently returned from Australia and USA, said senior scientist Dr Mustaq Hossain, spokesman of IEDCR.
They were kept in home confinement under close observation of the IEDCR experts, he said.
Among the cases, eight of the victims recovered fully and others were under the supervision of the health directorate in their homes, isolated from other family members.
He said treatment in hospital was unnecessary as all the patients had showed slight symptoms.
“Everyone is improving,” he said, adding that if they developed any problem they would be taken to hospital immediately for treatment.
Ten of the cases had been contracted overseas, while the remaining eight had become infected within the country.
Dr Mustaq emphasised on stringent measures to contain the disease as it was spreading within the country.
In this regard, he stressed on addressing homeless people, particularly in the city areas, as evidences showed higher mortality among the poor and floating groups due to their nutritional deficiency and lack of awareness.
He said influenza can spread very quickly among the homeless, particularly in Dhaka where the high population density provides a perfect breeding ground.
“Poor are susceptible to any infection due to lack of nutrition,” he said.
The Bangladeshi man who died in Mexico was also a floating man, Dr Mustaq said, adding, if a floating person got infected, he can spread it to others very easily as he has no home to be confined to. He urged the non-government organisations and social welfare department to monitor the floating people.
IEDCR has drawn up plans on how to combat the spread of the virus and decided to open a ‘pandemic influenza information centre’ in every ward to make the information public.
One doctor and one health manager will be trained for each of these centres.
“The message should reach the homeless people so that they can turn up for check up,” he said.
WHO declared a global swine flu pandemic on June 1, while the health ministry confirmed the first case in Bangladesh on June 19.
According to the World Health Organisation, approximately 89,000 cases have so far been detected in 125 countries worldwide, with 382 fatalities on record.
Patients with specific flu-like symptoms-a fever above 40 degrees C, cough or other respiratory symptoms, runny nose, pneumonia – are presumed to carry the virus.
The IEDCR has advised schools and offices to grant leave to anyone who shows symptoms of the virus.
The director called upon everybody to avoid sneezing, coughing or spitting just ‘anywhere’ and to cover their mouth while coughing or sneezing and then wash their hands properly.
Swine flu country alert in Bangladesh is now at level-1, as the cases are found scattered, IEDCR sources said.

Courtesy of The Independent

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