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Spread of swine flu drops to normal, no danger: HPA

Fathmath Shaahunaz
06 April 2017, MVT 17:37
State Health Minister Aishath Rameela (L) speaks at parliament meeting between the HPA and Committee on Oversight of the Government. PHOTO: HUSSAIN WAHEED/MIHAARU
Fathmath Shaahunaz
06 April 2017, MVT 17:37

The Health Protection Agency (HPA) on Thursday announced that the viral flu epidemic, including swine flu, spreading across the Maldives has reached normal levels, thus assuring that there is nothing to hide about the swine flu status from citizens.

Speaking at a meeting with the parliament’s Committee on Oversight of the Government, HPA stated that 769 people have tested for the H1N1 virus so far out of which 261 tested positive. According to HPA, nine patients are hospitalised to treat swine flu, two of whom are in Intensive Care.

The statistics released by HPA on March 29 showed that 222 people had tested positive for swine flu then, which is an average of 30 people per week. Six people have died of the disease so far.

The State Minister of Health Aishath Rameela asserted during the committee meeting that the current flu status in the Maldives has levelled out and is back to normal. She assured that any drastic or negative changes will be brought to the immediate attention of citizens.

“H1N1 is not the only [virus] in the Maldives, There is tuberculosis; there are many diseases. We don’t issue reports on them every day. As such, H1N1 will always be in the Maldives as influenza,” she said.

Shedding light on swine flu, which is a type of influenza caused by the H1N1 virus that was first discovered in the Maldives in 2015, State Minister Rameela pronounced that HPA continues to monitor reports on how the disease is spreading. However, she said the agency will bring the matter to public attention only if urgent.

“The current conditions do not necessitate daily reports. But we’re monitoring the reports every day,” she said, adding that H1N1 will never drop to “zero” in the Maldives.

HPA noted that important steps such as calling off large public gatherings and closing schools and universities for nearly two weeks had been imperative in controlling the spread of swine flu.

World Health Organisation (WHO) has also agreed to donate 30,000 doses of influenza vaccine to help curb the spread of swine flu in the Maldives. However, the state minister said that WHO has sent only 750 dozes so far. Under the organisation’s instructions, the vaccines were administered mostly to the elderly.

HPA’s Director Dr Sheeza Ali disclosed that over 100,000 dozes of the vaccine were brought in to the Maldives due to the swine flu epidemic. Dr Sheeza said that 97,000 of them were imported for use by the Ministry of Health while over 54,000 were transported to the atolls.

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