Swine Flu Spreads in the Region as Fiji and PNG Confirm Cases
The A(H1N1) flu is officially in the region as two more countries confirm cases.
Papua New Guinea confirmed its first case last week with a media conference on Saturday afternoon, according to the country's The National.
According to the report, it was 'announced that tests had confirmed one case of swine flu from the 16 samples sent to the World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza in Melbourne, Australia
According to the report, authorities are trying to locate the person, a resident of Port Moresby, who had flown into PNG from Australia last weekend.
A member of the influenza task force surveillance team told The National the team was trying to contact the infected person, and seek details of people the person would have come in contact with and that since the person developed the influenza-like illness and went in for testing, the person had been under "in-house quarantine" meaning that he was told to stay at home and avoid contact with anyone.
According to the report, PNG's Health Department secretary, Dr. Clement Malau, said that 'every precaution was being taken to follow up close contacts of the person, including family members, to determine if they had contacted the illness, in preparation for the seven-day quarantine period'.
Dr Malau stressed that there should be no panic, adding that personal hygiene remained vital in the fight against swine flu.
"All Papua New Guineans can do their bit by following simple hygiene procedures, such as regular hand washing with soap and water, covering their nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing, and staying home if they are sick," he said.
According to the report, PNG's Health Department reported that three more people had been listed as possible infections, raising the number of suspected cases to 19 and WHO PNG head of delegation, Dr Eigil Sorensen, 'confirmed that PNG's first case was "in line with expectations" given the situation in neighbouring Australia and globally'.