Phuket swine flu infections drop

PHUKET CITY: Phuket appears to be winning the battle against swine flu, but the island’s top public health official is asking the public to maintain vigilance.

Phuket Public Health Office (PPHO) director Dr Pongsawas Ratanasang said yesterday morning the number of new cases reported daily has fallen to fewer than five, on average.

So far there have been 123 reported cases of the disease on the island, with only one death, he said.

Nevertheless, Dr Pongsawas said the disease poses a serious health threat that should not be taken lightly.

“Please don’t think swine flu is not dangerous. Be careful and take care of yourself and those around you, because swine flu can spread very quickly and easily, even though the air,” he said.

The Thai government has budgeted 600 million baht to purchase the swine flu vaccine, which is still under development and is expected to be delivered by year end, he said.

The A(HIN1) virus that causes the disease could also mutate into a deadlier form in the future, he said.

“Rather than presume it isn’t dangerous, I think we should all work together in taking preventative measures against it,” he said.

The PPHO continues to monitor the situation closely and is inspecting crowded air-conditioned spaces like internet cafes and tutorial classrooms where the virus has a good chance of spreading, he said.

People with flu symptoms will continue to be rushed to hospital for testing, he said.

In Phuket, the PPHO will hold a press conference every Wednesday to update the public on the disease.

In Bangkok, top public heath officials met yesterday to discuss the swine flu situation nationwide.

The A (H1N1) influenza virus directly attacks the human lung, causing severe symptoms that can lead to death, Dr Rewat Wisarutwej, director-general of the Medical Service Department said.

Most patients with severe A(H1N1) influenza also suffer severe pneumonia, he said.

“The virus has been found deep at the base of the lungs,” Dr Rewat said.

The Public Health Ministry will reveal the results of its first autopsy on a swine flu patient tomorrow.

— Gazette & Nation reporters

Phuket News

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