- Following is the public announcement (1/2019): increasing support in monitoring, preventing and responding to seasonal influenza
The Ministry of Health and Sports continuously monitors communicable diseases and those with fast spread rates, implementing preventive measures and administering timely responses.
In accordance with International Health Regulations (2005), the ministry maintains close cooperation with the World Health Organization, regional and partner organizations to monitor for communicable diseases that may threaten public health.
Starting from 2017, the ministry has carried out monitoring tasks for flu-related symptoms by expanding into eight hospitals. The ministry will also be expanding into 15 hospitals including the general hospitals for North Okkalapa, Insein, Hlinethaya, and state/regional level hospitals.
The Central Epidemiology Unit regularly publishes information on influenza monitoring in their monthly epidemiology bulletin. The Influenza A H1N1 pdm09 virus subtype occurs annually and has developed in our neighbouring countries this year as well.
In 2017, 1,165 people had a medical check-up for influenza in Myanmar and 458 of that number had contracted it. Of them, 406 were infected with Influenza A H1N1 pdm09 and 38 died from the virus.
In 2018, 367 people had a medical check-up for influenza in Myanmar and 118 of that number had contracted it. Of them, 13 were infected with Influenza A H1N1 pdm09 but there were no deaths.
The Central Epidemiology Unit, under the Public Health Department, regularly monitors for seasonal influenza and has found 10 people infected with the virus out of 71 screened between 1st January to the end of May in 2019. Of them, 4 were found to have the Influenza A H1N1 pdm09 strain but there were no deaths.
As the monsoon season approaches and infection rates go up, increased monitoring showed 12 out of 48 people screened from early June had the Influenza A H1N1 pdm09 virus strain.
From 1 January to 20 June in 2019, a total of 16 people were infected with Influenza A H1N1 pdm09. Reports showed five died from the virus in the Yangon Region and one died in Sagaing Region totalling six. The victims were reported to be the elderly and young children who already had chronic illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, or respiratory disease.
Aiming to increase support on monitoring, preventing and responding effectively to seasonal influenza, the Union Minister led meetings at the National Health Laboratory Inspection Department in Yangon and the meeting hall of the Ministry of Health and Sports, on 16 June and 20 June respectively.
The medical services departments and public health departments across the states and regions have increased their cooperation and workload to monitor for influenza like illnesses (ILI) and severe acute respiratory infection (SARI) in hospitals, clinics and border immigration gates.
The departments spread health awareness to people who interact closely with people infected with the virus to prevent transmission. In addition, they also monitor the virus, provide treatment, prepare separate treatment rooms in hospitals, and provides mechanical ventilators for serious patients.
The public is advised to cover their mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing, thoroughly wash their hands after sneezing, coughing, coming into physical contact with influenza patients and public items, and avoid going to crowded places unless necessary.
If symptoms of influenza, high fever, difficulty breathing, fainting or anxiety develops, please visit your nearest health center for diagnosis and treatment.
When the general public adheres to the precautions issued by the ministry, effective prevention and treatment will be carried out and there will be no cause for alarm concerning the seasonal influenza.
The ministry will update news of the seasonal influenza at www.mohs.gov.mm, https://www.facebook.com/MinistryOfHealthAndSportsMyanmar, and the Facebook page of Myanmar CDC. We urge the public to report signs of H1N1 to the nearest health center.
Ministry of Health and Sports
(Translated by Zaw Htet Oo)