BRUNEI QUARANTINES 200 OVER SWINE FLU

Brunei Quarantines 200 Over Swine Flu Fears

Bandar Seri Begawan - Brunei's Ministry of Health yesterday quarantined some 200 passengers over fears that they might be infected with the H1N1 virus that has killed scores in Mexico and has infected over 1,000 people across the world.
In a hastily called press conference last night, officials from the Health Ministry and the National Disaster Management Centre (NDMC) told reporters that all passengers on board a chartered flight that arrived here from the United Kingdom have been quarantined at the Pengiran Muda Mahkota Pengiran Muda Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah Hospital in Tutong after three of them were found to have body temperature slightly above normal when they were scanned at the Brunei International Airport on arrival.

"Following our surveillance at the airport this (yesterday) evening, we've identified three passengers from a chartered flight from the UK with a high risk of H1N1 infection," the Director
General of Health Services told reporters.

"So far, the three passengers have been tested and showed negative for influenza 'A'. However, as a precaution, we have sent them for isolation," Dr Rahmah Md Said said.

According to the Director General, all the passengers on board the flight had a travel history of being in countries where the infection had already spread, so every precautionary effort is being taken.

"I'd like to stress at this point, the signs of H1N1 infection is similar to any flu infection for other strains. So we are taking extra precautions because we cannot differentiate whether this is seasonal flu or H1N1 without having a definite lab test," explained Dr Rahmah.

According to the officials, the samples have been sent to the Brunei's designated reference regulatory for verification and final testing.

The passengers will be quarantined for 10 days, officials said, "and if found positive for H1N1, they will be treated here", they added.

The number of swine flu victims in the world topped the 1,000 mark on Monday as the UN's most senior health official warned that a second wave of the virus could be far worse, AFP reported.

As Mexico, the epicentre of the outbreak, prepared for the reopening of restaurants and businesses shuttered by the A (H1N1) virus, the number of affected countries climbed once again.

Mexico raised its confirmed swine flu toll to 26 deaths on Monday, but said the epidemic appeared to be slowing. The previous toll, given late Sunday, was 22 dead and 568 infected. The sense of alarm however arew in Britain when it emerged that another seven people who had not been to Mexico had the virus.

World Health Organisation chief Margaret Chan told UN officials in New York that despite the continued spread it was not yet time to declare a pandemic.

"There are now 1,003 confirmed cases of H1N1 in 20 countries. We don't know how long we have till we move to phase six. Six indicates we are in a pandemic. We are not there vet." -- Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin

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