Four Dead From Severe Flu Strain That Killed 36 Two Years Ago – Health Ministry

Four people have died after catching a severe strain of flu that killed dozens in Myanmar two years ago, the Ministry of Health has said.

All the victims fell ill from the 2009 strain of the AH1N1 virus in Yangon Region. They include a 75-year-old man from Sanchaung, a 31-year-old man from Dagon Seikkan and a 29-year-old pregnant woman from Kawmhu.

Out of 20 patients who were thought to have caught the deadly virus, seven tested positive and 13 were given the all clear, Dr Tun Myint, head of the Yangon Regional Health Department, told a press conference Wednesday.

A letter from health officials in Kawmhu that has been shared widely on social media names the pregnant woman as Aye Aye Soe, 29, and said she died while receiving treatment at Yangon General Hospital on June 14.

Dr Tun Myint said the woman was the first of the four fatalities. The fourth victim, a man, died Wednesday at Yangon General Hospital but officials have yet to release any more information about him.

Patients infected with the virus have also been receiving treatment at hospitals in Insein and North Okkala, Dr Tun Myint said.

Dr Thet Su Mon, a health official focussed on infectious diseases, told Myanmar Now that the ministry is working to release information about all cases as soon as they’re confirmed.

“We only became aware of the first case on Friday and will continue to keep you all posted. We have already instructed all public hospitals to report to us without delay if they diagnose the disease in more patients,” she said.

The last outbreak of the deadly strain hit Myanmar in July 2017, killing 36 people in the space of two months.

The Ministry of Health is urging anyone with flu-like symptoms to avoid crowded places and seek medical care immediately.

“I want to tell people not to panic, and to follow the instructions appearing on TV and in the newspapers every day,” said Dr Daw Phyu Aye, secretary of the Health and Awareness-Raising Unit at the ministry.

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