A/H1N1 flu cases in Bangladesh rise to 247

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The total number of A/H1N1 flu-infected people in Bangladesh rose to 247 with detection of 34 new cases on Tuesday, the South Asian country's health minister said.

After an inter-ministerial meeting here in Dhaka on Tuesday, Bangladesh's Health Minister AFM Ruhal Haq told reporters that patients suspected to have contacted the virus should get first treatment instead of waiting for confirmation report of the A/H1N1virus.

The suspected flu patients will be treated before their blood sample is tested, he said adding "It's not at all possible for us to diagnose all suspects due to limitation. Only the critical patients will be asked to get admission in hospitals for treatment."

The Bangladeshi government Monday also asked the country's health officials to treat first anyone who displays symptoms of A/H1N1 flu instead of wasting time to have test report hours after the virus claimed its first victim in the country.

A 35-year old female flu positive patient died on Sunday night in a private hospital in Dhaka which was first fatality the country has had since recording its first A/H1N1 case on June 18.

Regarding the first death, the health minister said the woman died because she had been given wrong treatment.

Health Ministry in collaboration with other relevant ministries are working to aware of people about the virus which is spreading fast in the country since last month, he said adding some 5,000 doctors have already been provided training on the virus.

Apart from this, the minister said doctors and health officials in Bangladesh's capital Dhaka and at district and sub-district levels have been instructed to provide patients proper advice on the virus.

He, however, said the situation to panic has not emerged yet in the country. "We've taken all required precautionary measures to combat the disease."

Bangladesh's Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid, who also attended the meeting, told reporters that the situation was not so dire as to order authorities concern to shut their educational institutions.

He, however, suggested informing the health or education ministry if any student was suspected to be displaying symptoms of the virus.

Following the fast spread of the disease, some leading English medium schools in Bangladesh's capital city Dhaka had already announced to close their classes for an indefinite period.

Head of the country's Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) under the Health Ministry Mahmudur Rahman had earlier told reporters, "We might see an explosion in the number of cases in the coming weeks and it could reach 70, 000 to 80,000 within two to three months."

(Xinhua News Agency September 2, 2009)

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