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Brunei not worried about "mystery flu" in PNG (Old/Bad information)

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  • Brunei not worried about "mystery flu" in PNG (Old/Bad information)

    This article was posted tonight, but uses old, discredited, information. For that reason, I didn't post this in the news thread about PNG.

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    `Mystery Flu' In Papua New Guinea Not Worrying Locals

    Written by Melvin Jong
    Saturday, 05 September 2009 06:09

    Bandar Seri Begawan - News of the recent "mystery influenza" and dysentery outbreaks that has resulted in the deaths of at least 47 people and infected some 2,000 others in Papua New Guinea do not seem to be a cause for concern for a majority of Brunei's residents.

    Steven Pang, a self-employed entrepreneur, said that he has read about the outbreaks in the newspapers but has not really thought much about it. "I just glanced through it. Was not really paying attention because it really isn't relevant to Brunei," he said.

    Pang, however, said that he felt the same way about the news of the Influenza A (H1N1) pandemic when it was first reported. 9 did not really take much notice of the early H1N1 reports either," he admitted.

    "I had no idea how rapid it would spread and was certain that it will not reach Brunei, but to be honest, H1N1 was mostly hype. It wasn't nearly as dangerous as (people) first thought," he said.

    In agreement with Pang was his high school classmate who declined to be named. Currently unemployed, she informed The Brunei Times that she had actually heard quite a bit about the outbreak from her parents, who themselves had only recently recovered from the H1N1 infection.

    "They have had a first-hand experience of being patients so they are a bit worried, but personality I don't think that this is something to panic about, at least not yet," she said.
    The 32-year-old explained that according to her knowledge, the outbreak of the mysterious illnesses happened in an isolated area and should therefore be much easier to contain.

    "I am sure that the relevant authorities in the location have taken precautionary measures needed to lock down the area. It happened in a place that is far and not really accessible so I think that the chances of the disease spreading should be quite low," she said, adding that more information on the disease is needed.

    "You cannot prepare for something you don't know about. For all we know, this mystery flu might not be really contagious," she said.

    A majority of the people interviewed, however, revealed that they were still unaware of such reports.

    Eva Ong, a university student from the United Kingdom currently back in Brunei for the holidays, said that she has not heard anything of the outbreak "I don't know anything about it but I think it is something that we should be concerned about. We have to be prepared for it," she said.

    "It is always better to be safe than sorry," added Ong.
    Echoing her sentiments was a 26-year-old sales representative who requested to be known as Hamirul. "Now that we have experienced what it is like to be living with H1N1, we should be more alert and prepared to face similar disease outbreaks," he said.

    Hamirul said that he did not know anything about the out-break prior to this interview but felt that Brunei should monitor the situation closely.

    "Eight now you can fly from one end of the world to the other in just a few days so we cannot be complacent and think that we won't be affected by it," he said.

    According to a news report by AFP earlier this week, 27 villagers from the Menyama District of the Morobe province in Papua New Guinea have died from the unidentified influenza since August 3, in addition to 20 other casualties caused by dysentery.

    Papua New Guinea's World Health Organisation (WHO) representative, Eigil Sorensen said that the possibility of the mystery flu being swine flu could not be ruled out.

    However, it would be unlikely as the outbreak occurred in a remote area.
    "But the number of sick (people) and fatalities are certainly higher than normal so we take both of these outbreaks seriously," he said.

    -- Courtesy of The Brunei Times