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Swine Flu Appears In Nepal
Date: Thu 15 Oct 2009 Source: Republica [edited] http://www.myrepublica.com/portal/index.php?action=news_details&news_id=10815
Swine Flu Appears Among Masses
Influenza pandemic (H1N1) 2009 virus infection -- otherwise known as swine flu -- has now appeared among the masses, the Health Ministry said at a press conference Thursday [15 Oct 2009]. "While the previous confirmed 36 cases had travel or contact history, we have now found the virus in persons who have no history of travel and have not come into contact with a confirmed patient," deputy coordinator of the Avian Influenza Control Project Dr Jitendra Man Shrestha said.
Dr Shrestha said that random tests done on 46 common flu patients at Patan, Bir, Teaching, and Kanti hospitals in the Valley showed that 3 of them had the [pandemic 2009] virus. The trio had no travel or contact history with swine flu. Similarly 2 more in the Valley, including a foreigner, have been confirmed infected by the virus. Likewise, 3 out of 6 patients currently being treated for viral fever in Chitwan have also tested positive.
A strange viral fever [one of several reported recently in ProMED-mail], that has affected hundreds in Chitwan since August [2009], has also claimed 3 lives. "We will try to trace the relatives of the 3 deceased and find out if they had shown symptoms of swine flu [pandemic (H1N1) 2009 virus infection]," director of the Epidemiology and Disease Control Division Dr Garib Das Thakur said. Dr Thakur also said that additional samples will be brought from Chitwan on Friday [16 Oct 2009].
Speaking at the press conference, health secretary Dr Sudha Sharma said that the strategy of the government now has to be changed. "We will now focus on treatment and tracing of patients instead of scanning them at border checkpoints and the airport," Sharma said. The health officials mobilized there will now be used in treatment.
Director general of the World Health Organization (WHO) Dr Margaret Chan on 7 Sep 2009 during her Nepal visit for a regional WHO conference advised the Nepal government to stop screening passengers for the virus saying it is very hard to detect the virus and most infected persons don't even show the symptoms. Instead use the manpower for other diseases, she had said.
The ministry has urged people to follow the preventive measures it had previously advised. It has also advised patients with basic flu symptoms not to panic and to seek medical consultation only if they have difficulty in breathing and sore throat, or if they also have difficulty in drinking and are pregnant.
The Ministry said that a stock of Tamiflu [oseltamivir] sufficient for treatment of 36 000 patients is available in Kathmandu while major hospitals outside the Valley also have enough Tamiflu to treat 200 patients each. "Only the high risk groups like pregnant women, children, patients with other health conditions like respiratory disease, immunosuppression and diabetes will be given Tamiflu," Dr Shrestha said.
Secretary Dr Sharma said that the government will now discuss with private hospitals how they can help in controlling the disease. Dr Sharma also stated that WHO has agreed to provide vaccines for medics involved in the treatment process in the 1st stage in what is a major boost for health officials who may themselves have inherent fears about the disease.
Preventive measures advised by the health ministry:
-- cover mouth and nose with handkerchiefs while coughing or sneezing
-- reuse the materials used in covering mouth and nose only after properly washing and cleaning them
-- wash hands properly with soap after coughing or sneezing
-- refrain from taking hands unnecessarily to mouth, nose and eyes
-- refrain from shaking hands as greetings and do namaste instead (Namaste is a traditional Indian greeting or gesture of respect, made by bringing the palms together before the face or chest and bowing - Mod.CP.)
-- don't travel or visit crowded places unnecessarily
-- fever, which is usually high, but unlike seasonal flu, may sometimes be absent
-- cough, runny nose or stuffy nose, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills
-- fatigue or tiredness
-- diarrhea and vomiting, sometimes, but more commonly seen than with seasonal flu
-- difficulty in respiration and pneumonia in serious cases
High risk groups:
-- pregnant women
-- people with chronic medical problems, such as chronic lung disease, like asthma, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, or immunosuppression
-- children and adults with obesity
-- Communicated by: ProMed-mail rapporteur Mary Marshall
An interesting account of the appearance of the influenza pandemic (H1N1) 2009 virus in Nepal, in contrast to several recent unresolved outbreaks of disease in Nepal: such as Undiagnosed deaths - Nepal: (DP) RFI 20090318.1093, and Undiagnosed deaths - Nepal: (Sindhupalchowk) RFI 20080727.2299.
The interactive HealthMap/ProMED map of Nepal can be accessed at http://healthmap.org/r/007i. - Mod.CP
Patricia A. Doyle DVM, PhD Bus Admin, Tropical Agricultural Economics Univ of West Indies Please visit my "Emerging Diseases" message board at: http://www.emergingdisease.org/phpbb/index.php Also my new website: http://drpdoyle.tripod.com/ Zhan le Devlesa tai sastimasa Go with God and in Good Health 
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