5 dead in Yangon from H1N1 flu: ministry

A man wears a face mask while walking with friends in Yangon. Photo: AFP / Aung Kyaw Htet
A man wears a face mask while walking with friends in Yangon. Photo: AFP / Aung Kyaw Htet

Five people have died from the H1N1 virus in the past month, with four of those in Yangon, the Ministry of Health and Sports revealed at a press conference this morning.

While the virus — also known as the “swine flu” — first appeared in Myanmar in 2009, it was an outbreak just two years ago in which dozens died that brought it into the public consciousness on a larger scale.

Among the Yangonites who have died in this most recent outbreak are a 29-year-old woman from Kawmhu township, a 75-year-old man in Sanchaung township, and a 32-year-old man from Dagon Seikkan township. No details about the fourth and fifth victims, based in Yangon and Sagaing state respectively, has been disclosed.

Another seven patients suspected to be infected with the influenza strain are being monitored by doctors at Yangon General Hospital, Insein Hospital and North Okkalapa Hospital.   

“The elderly and the young are especially at risk. Those with preexisting conditions are also at risk,” a Ministry of Health official told reporters this morning.

“We will be providing updates to the public every morning. We don’t want the public to be alarmed and give them the best information possible to look out for warning signs and symptoms,” she added.

The ministry also stressed the importance of acquiring information from reliable sources, highlighting the prevalence of unreliable information on social media platforms like Facebook.

The also provided tips to protect yourself against infection including covering your coughs, avoiding crowded areas, and washing your hands frequently.

In 2017, the country experienced its worst-ever H1N1 outbreak, in which hundreds of people were infected and an estimated 36 succumbed to the virus.

Separately, cases of dengue fever have also been on the rise since the beginning of the monsoon season, with thousands of cases around the country, 12 reported deaths as of yesterday.

According to the Center for Disease Control, the surest way to avoid dengue — born by mosquitoes — is by using insect repellant, wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants, and keeping your home a mosquito-free space.

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