14 October, 2009

A(H1N1), water festival could be bad mix without proper hygiene

To prevent the spread of the A(H1N1) influence virus, personal hygiene must remain a priority as millions gather in Phnom Penh for the annual Water Festival, officials from the Ministry of Heal and the World Health Organization said yesterday.

Der. Michel Theiren, deputy representative for the WHO in Cambodia, told reporter at a news conference that the festival will crate opportunities for the disease to spread but add that the so-called swine flue virus will not cause catastrophic effects and it easily averted.

“To say Water Festival plus H1N1 equals catastrophe is just wrong” he said. “It is a matter of concern, you just have to pay attention”...

He added that the spread of the disease is also not something to be alarmed about but rather is expected by health experts. He noted that serous concern should be paid if the disease starts affection one’s lungs, but otherwise, it would be treated like a normal bout of influenza.

To help calm fears and educate the public, 500,000 informational leaflete, produced by the ministry and Unicef, will be distributed in Phnom Penh shortly before and during the festival, Minister of Heal Dr Mam Bunheng announced at the news conference.

People should wash their hands as often as possible, cover their mouths and nose while coughing or sneezing, and avoid spitting on the ground, Dr Bunheng said.

He also downplayed virus fears, reiterating that only server cases that affect the lungs should be taken to the hospital . Other people with flu-like symptoms should be stay home and take paracetamol and drink a lot warm or room-temperature water.

“If you have flu-like symptoms stay at home [during the festival] or you will spread the disease to other people” he said.

The groups most at risk for infection are people with asthma, tuberculosis, kidney and liver diseases, hear condition, pregnant women and the obese, Dr Heng said.

“These people need to remain vigilant,” he said. (Sited from Cambodia Daily News)


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