BANGKOK – Myanmar authorities raised the death toll to 10 in an outbreak of the H1N1 virus, or swine flu, prompting the country to seek aid from the World Health Organization (WHO), state media reported on Monday.
The Ministry of Health confirmed that three people admitted in hospitals in Yangon died during the weekend after contracting the virus, according to the Global New Light of Myanmar.
The health authorities revealed that between July 21-30, 182 people were hospitalized with respiratory problems, 51 of which were tested positive for H1N1.
The Health Ministry submitted on Wednesday a report to WHO on the swine flu situation requesting assistance to contain the virus and the provision of vaccines, medicines and detection equipment, among others.
Health authorities have begun distributing face masks and providing information on, for example, hand washing, as well as a recommendation on visiting the doctor when getting the flu-like symptoms that do not subside in two days.
The swine flu outbreak has led authorities to postpone the Taung Byone festival – a large folk and religious celebration held annually in the northern city of Mandalay – that was slated to begin on Tuesday.
Myanmar has not experienced an H1N1 influenza outbreak since the 2009 global pandemic, in which dozens of people in the country were infected.
Authorities also reported last week on the first cases – since 2006 – of H7N9 virus, commonly known as bird flu, detected in June in Dawei, in southern Myanmar, which led to the culling of about 1,800 chicken.