Recently, reports of H1N1 cases have been surfacing. Though there are some assurance that there should not be any causes for panic due to its seasonal circulation, H1N1 still posts a significant threat.
The H1N1 flu pandemic of 2009-10 killed an estimated 284,500 people, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) scientists — an estimate that is 15 times higher than the previously recorded official death toll.
Here’s a compilation of the recent H1N1 cases around the Asia Pacific region:
1. Sabah, Malaysia, 6th February: Seven people are being treated for H1N1 at the Likas Women and Children’s Hospital, and the entire ward at the hospital has been quarantined.
2. Singapore, 15th January: Two employees at Citibank Singapore have been diagnosed with the influenza A (H1N1) virus. Another 8 employees are suspected to have contracted the virus as well.
3. Chiang Mai, Thailand, 1st February: The Chiang Mai public health office’s deputy chief Surasing Wisarutrat said a preliminary investigation found that the army conscript had developed flu-like symptoms including fever, cough and shortness of breath, leading to respiratory failure. The laboratory results show he was infected with the 2009 H1N1 flu virus, which was prevalent five years ago.
4. Hanoi, Vietnam, 22nd January: Thirteen high school students in Hanoi, Vietnam, are suspected to have contracted the swine virus. Samples of the 13 patients have been taken for testing, and two cases of the swine flu have been confirmed.
Earlier last week in Indonesia, the Agriculture Ministry says it has prepared a stockpile of bird flu vaccines following the death of hundreds of thousands of poultry in several regions across the country.
Prevention is better than cure. So what can you do? It’s recommended for everyone 6 months and older that you take a flu shot. Depending on the vaccine and the year, the flu shot prevents the flu 70-90% of the time according to the World Health Organization, or 60% according to the US CDC. If you happen to get the flu, fortunately, there is an antiviral treatment for the flu, which is especially effective if you can get it as soon as symptoms start.