Swine flu infection cases rise to five in Nepal

July 2nd, 2009 - 5:11 pm ICT by IANS  

Kathmandu, July 2 (IANS) Three days after Nepal reported its first cases of swine flu, health officials Thursday said the Influenza A (H1N1) virus has also been detected in two more.
While four of the patients are members of the same family, the fifth is closely associated with them, Nepal’s Epidemiology and Disease Control Division chief Senendra Upreti told IANS.

A non-resident Nepali couple returning from Washington to Kathmandu via Doha June 21 and their eight-year-old son were found to have high fever at the Tribhuvan International Airport.

They were tested for the pandemic and were found to be positive. However, the 44-year-old man, his wife, 38, and their son had responded to treatment and were now out of danger, officials said.

The new cases of the viral fever are their 17-month-old child and a five-year-old boy from their relatives’ family, who had been in their company.

“The first three have responded to treatment and are out of danger,” Upreti said. “The other two are also out of danger.”

He said that there was a greater danger in Nepal of ignorance combined with curiosity that made the situation tricky for patients.

“We have to keep their identities secret and keep them in isolation in an undisclosed place for their own well-being,” Upreti said.

“Otherwise, they would be swarmed by curious relatives, onlookers and the media, who want to see what a swine flu victim looks like.”

After setting up a health desk in the Kathmandu airport following the outbreak of the disease in Nepal’s neighbours China and India, now efforts are on to subject tourists to health checks at the land crossings with India.

A private television station said officials were looking for seven people who had come from Qatar and had headed towards Jhapa district in eastern Nepal. One of them had reportedly complained of throat pain.

However, there was no immediate official confirmation.

Upreti also said that 62 Nepalis who had come from Bangkok with fever were let off after it was diagnosed as plain flu.

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