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Number of A/H1N1 flu cases up to 98 in Bangladesh
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14:46, August 22, 2009

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Eleven new cases of A/H1N1 flu have been detected in Bangladesh taking the total number to 98 while officials feared it could reach 70,000 to 80,000 within two to three months, local newspapers reported on Saturday.

Among the 11 new cases confirmed on Friday, six were imported, Director of Institute of Epidemiology Disease Control and Research(IEDCR) under health ministry Mahmudur Rahman, according to leading English-language newspaper The Daily Star.

"We cannot avoid a pandemic like the swine flu," Mahmud was quoting as saying. He said the health ministry is conducting 13 surveillance programs to check the swine flu across the country.

Meanwhile, English-language newspaper The Independent on Saturday said that health officials apprehend an explosion in the number of cases in the next couple of months.

The newspaper also quoted Mahmudur Rahman as saying that "We might see an explosion in number of cases in the coming weeks and it could reach 70,000 to 80,000 within two to three months."

Health minister AFM Ruhul Huq has voiced concern as the A/H1N1 virus was spreading steadily. He urged people not to panic as he claimed government was well-prepared to tackle the situation, The Independent said.

The health ministry has also claimed that the public health system is well equipped to handle a large outbreak with enough stock of Oseltamivir (Tamiflu), the drug proven effective against A/H1N1 flu virus.

Screening measures have been beefed up in the country's 11 landports recently with neighboring India reporting 36 deaths from swine flu and over a thousand confirmed cases of the disease.

Mahmud said presently the IEDCR has the only laboratory in the city for diagnosing swine flu while another lab in Dhaka is ready to extend support.

However, local experts blamed the government for showing lack of activity.

"In such critical moment government should be on war-footing," virologist Professor Nazrul Islam was quoted by The Independent assaying.

He said the government is not working properly and the government's efforts lack coordination. People are not still aware of the danger of swine flu, slackness was also noticed in the screening program, he said.

The first A/H1N1 flu case was confirmed in Bangladesh on June 18.

Source: Xinhua

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