| Xinhua | 2013-2-11 13:40:28
The Bangladeshi government is on alert following the swift spread of H1N1 influenza in several Indian states, officials said Sunday.
"We're on alert as a precautionary measure against the H1N1 influenza," Be-Nazir Ahmed, director of disease control, Bangladesh Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, told Xinhua.
Another official of the ministry said all officials concerned have been asked to remain on alert after media reports say that H1N1, commonly known as swine flu, has claimed scores of lives in India so far this year.
The official who preferred to be unnamed said the influenza has gradually spread to Indian states, where 494 cases of swine flu have been reported since January.
The outbreak of swine flu in several Indian states has reportedly claimed at least 95 people since the beginning of 2013.
"We're closely monitoring the influenza situation in India so that we can go for more preventive measures like establishing checkpoints on borders on a short notice," Ahmed said.
Officials urged people not to panic but be cautious about the outbreak of H1N1, which first appeared in Mexico in 2009 and rapidly spread around the world.
With the death of two women in 2010, the death toll of flu in Bangladesh has risen to eight since the first A/H1N1 case on June 18, 2009. The respiratory virus, which infects pigs and humans only sporadically, spreads mainly through coughs and sneezes.
Since 2009 till now, Bangladesh reported 783 A/H1N1 flu cases, including 150 in 2012, said Alamgir Hossain, a flu expert at the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control & Research (IEDCR) under the Health Ministry.
He said the IEDCR has remained alert after media reports say that the outbreak of swine flu across several states of India, Bangladesh's close neighbor, has taken many lives since the beginning of last month.
"There is nothing to be scared of the disease so much because we're now better prepared to treat patients infected with the virus," Hossain said.
"We'll convene a meeting next week when senior officials from all the 26 surveillance sites across Bangladesh will sit together to discuss mechanisms to better combat the disease in the wake of unexpected worsening situation," he said.
"So far there is nothing to be worried at all," he added.
There is so far no fresh flu case this month after two cases were reported last month, he said.
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