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H1N1 arrives in Papua New Guinea

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  • H1N1 arrives in Papua New Guinea

    Flu virus spreads


    THE H1N1 virus that causes influenza has emerged aga this year, alarming the health authorities to work hard to contain it.
    Seventeen new cases were detected in Goroka in the Eastern Highlands and Vanimo in West Sepik provinces on top of 12 cases detected last year.
    Health Secretary Dr Clement Malau said during a press conference last Thursday that the department had received this information from the Melbourne World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre.
    Dr Malau said the influenza positive samples sent from Goroka and Vanimo surveillance units indicated that all 17 of the positive samples for January to May this year were pandemic.
    “The recent identification of pandemic influenza A or H1N1 is significant as it is the first evidence of in-country transmission of the virus in PNG,” he said.
    Dr Malau said during the early part of the pandemic 12 cases were identified last year among international travellers in the country.
    He said it would be important for the people who were at high risk of severe illness like pregnant women, toddlers above six months of age and those with other significant health problems to be vaccinated on priority basis.
    Dr Malau said all people attending the outpatient departments should be vaccinated immediately, adding that general public who wished to get vaccinated should also be vaccinated at all health facilities and hospitals.
    “The key messages for provincial and district authorities are that vaccination of at-risk groups including health workers, pregnant women and people with underline medical conditions must be completed as early as possible,” said Dr Malau.
    He also said the treatment of influenza-like illness with Tamiflu medicine should be undertaken at all major hospitals.