Government works to fight super flu

Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan has asked the Ministry of Health to prepare enough materials, equipment and means of transport to cope with a super flu outbreak.

In a document sent to relevant ministries and agencies by the Government Office yesterday, Nhan urged the health ministry to build a plan to maintain medical equipment and to be ready for the prevention and control of the flu.

Ministries, agencies and local people’s committees were asked to continue implementing the guidance of Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung to actively take measures against A/H1N1 flu when it entered Viet Nam.

The health ministry was entrusted to work with relevant ministries and agencies to implement the PM’s decision o­n preparing a budget to fight the flu.

Two more cases

Two more people in HCM City have been confirmed as having the influenza A (H1N1) virus, raising the number of infected patients in the country to three, according to the Ministry of Health.

The two new patients are a 41-year-old woman and her nine-year-old son, who arrived in HCM City o­n May 26 o­n a United Airlines flight from the US state of California via South Korea.

The two patients are being quarantined and treated at HCM City Tropical Diseases Hospital and Children’s Hospital No 1.

The woman’s husband, who was also o­n the same flight, is being quarantined as well, but test results have yet to be announced, according to health officials.

The city health workers have quarantined 214 passengers who shared the flight with the woman and her son.

Nguyen Van Chau, head of the HCM City Health Department, said 173 of the passengers are being monitored by district-level preventive health centres, and the others have been quarantined by provincial health authorities.

Chau said besides test results from the HCM City Tropical Diseases Hospital and HCM City Pasteur Institute, officials were waiting for the second blood test for the woman and her son from the National Institute of Hygiene and Epidemiology.

The two patients have no link with the first confirmed swine flu patient who is a student, also returning from the US last week, according to the HCM City Department of Health.

Chau said no o­ne in the city had contracted swine flu within the country.

He urged city health officials to strengthen supervision in the community, especially of those who have had contact with confirmed swine flu cases.

The department stressed that there were sufficient facilities and medicine in case of an outbreak.

Four main hospitals in the city, including Children’s Hospital No. 1,2, Tropical Diseases Hospital and Pham Ngoc Thach Tuberculosis Hospital, have about 200 sick beds, excluding six other major hospitals also in the city.

The department has assigned hospitals in the city’s 24 districts to set aside 185 sick beds for quarantining the patients.

Deputy Minister of Health Trinh Quan Huan yesterday worked with officials from HCM City Tropical Diseases Hospital and the municipal Department of Health and People’s Committee to discuss ways to prevent the further spread of the virus.

Huan inspected quarantined rooms at the HCM City Tropical Diseases Hospital and during the meeting with the city officials, urged co-operation between departments and agencies in preventing and fighting any outbreaks.

Huan also met the first confirmed swine flu patient in Viet Nam, a 23-year-old student whose full name has not been released.

The student is reportedly in good health and being cared for at the HCM City Tropical Diseases Hospital.

The student told Huan that before taking his flight to Viet Nam for his summer vacation, he had visited friends in the US.

After arriving in HCM City with a normal body temperature, he visited markets, shops, churches and restaurants in the city.

Tran Tinh Hien, director of HCM City Tropical Diseases Hospital, said the patient was doing well and had no serious symptoms.

Fifty six countries and territories worldwide have recorded cases of the influenza A (H1N1) virus, including Viet Nam.

If the situation worsens, the ministry will ask the World Health Organisation for more medicine.

The ministry warned that the number of cases had reached serious proportions worldwide.

The risk of the epidemic becoming localised in the country was also great, it added.