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Border alert after Vietnam swine flu cases

Khy Sovuthy / Khmer Times Share:

The government has reassured the public over animal imports after a fourth person infected by the H1N1 strain died in Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh city.

Sen Sovann, director-general of the general department of health and animal produce at the Agriculture Ministry, said yesterday that both countries were always on alert about the disease.

Neither country allowed diseased birds or animals to cross the border, he said. The H1N1 virus is often called swine flu but it can also infect birds.

“We do not allow the import of animals with the disease because animal health officials always check animals’ health,” Mr Sovann said.

“We should not worry about this disease because the authorities of both countries always cooperate with each other about this problem.”

The Xinhua news agency in Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh city posted yesterday that specimens from a 69-year-old man who died on Saturday tested positive for H1N1.

The man from southern Ca Mau province was the fourth fatality to the H1N1 virus in the country’s southern region this year.

Vietnam experienced an H1N1 pandemic in 2009, with more than 9,000 cases of people contracting the disease and nearly 20 deaths within four months, according to the Health Ministry.

In a tropical country like Vietnam, the bird flu circulates year-round, usually reaching several peaks in the rainy season.

Ly Sovann, director of Cambodia’s communicable disease control department and spokesman for the Health Ministry, said Cambodia is prepared to battle H1N1.

“Our laboratory is prepared and we have found two to three cases per week of flu but they are minor strains of the disease,” he said.

Mr Sovann added that the Health Ministry had officials on standby along the borders of neighbouring countries to monitor passengers who come into Cambodia.

“When we receive information about H1N1 occurring in Vietnam, we ordered our officials to monitor the border between Cambodia and Vietnam,” he said.

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