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Ethiopia confirms first cases of A/H1N1 flu
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Ethiopia has confirmed its first cases of A/H1N1 flu virus, medical officials said on Saturday.

At a joint press conference, Liya Kebede, general manager of St. Paulos Hospital in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, said the virus was detected last Saturday in two of three students who came here from the United States following an examination.

She said the examination was made on the students upon their arrival at the Addis Ababa Bole International Airport last Friday.

Meanwhile, Ahmed Emano, head of public relations of the country's Ministry of Health, told journalists the biopsy of the students which was sent abroad for confirmation showed that they have the virus.

Ahmed said the result demonstrated that the checkup service made in the country is reliable.

He said all the necessary preparations have been made to prevent A/H1N1 flu virus, adding that it is no more a threat.

Ahmed said coordinated efforts had been launched to hold back the threat and is now under control.

He said Ethiopia's Ministry of Health has launched activities to employ national prevention system with all regional states.

He also said some 30 hospitals across the country, including two hospitals in Addis Ababa, are standby to treat and follow up cases.

Trainings have been offered to health professionals, he added, urging the public to follow attentively update information about the disease.

The public could provide information when they observe symptoms of the virus and related issues through the phone number 011 2750125, according to the Ethiopian official.

At the same occasion, Amha Kebede, the deputy general director of Ethiopian Health and Nutrition Research Institute ( EHNRI), said St. Paulos and St. Peter hospitals in Addis Ababa are ready to follow up people who are suspected of contracting the virus.

He said the EHNRI is to provide case management training to professionals in different health facilities of the country's capital, adding that the laboratory in the EHNRI is providing a 24- hour service.

Amha said efforts are well underway to import laboratory equipment that will help for fast detection.

He said an examination unit has been established at Addis Ababa Bole International Air port to investigate incoming passengers.

He also said passengers who use the Ethiopian Airlines are obliged to fill out forms, adding that training has been offered to staffs of the airliner.

Amha urged the public, who had contacts with people coming form aboard to observe symptoms of the virus, such as coughing, to immediately go to health facilities.

He said the anti-influenza medicine that will help to treat over 100,000 people is also being distributed.

The World Health Organization estimates the number of confirmed A/H1N1 infections at over 44,000.

(Xinhua News Agency June 21, 2009)

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