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Saturday, 29 January 2011 01:08 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

A/H1N1 claims 28 lives; contracts over 500

By Shezna Shums

During the past five months nearly 30 people have died due to Influenza A/H1NI whilst over 500 others have been confirmed as having been affected by it, the Health Ministry’s Epidemiology Department said.

As per official records, since September 2010 to the early part of this week there had been 28 deaths due to the virus and 521 people infected.

Of the number of people recorded as having contracted A/H1N1, majority of 53 percent were women.

The district that recorded the most number of cases was Colombo, with 141 cases while Gampaha, Kandy and Batticaloa were some of the other districts where A/H1N1 cases had been recorded.  

According to records maintained by the Epidemiological Unit, clustering of confirmed cases was being reported. However these cases tended to occur among non immunised patients. Influenza A/H1N1 virus has been transitioned to be a seasonal virus.

The epidemiology of the pandemic influenza A/H1N1 has demonstrated that for the majority of infected individuals, the disease is of self limiting nature. However for some individuals the disease may turn out to be severe with complications, and for such individuals special attention need  be focused to prevent such complications.

The Ministry of Health has thus instructed that high risk groups be given the A/H1N1 vaccinations.  The high risk groups are persons suffering from chronic lung disease including bronchial asthma, persons suffering from hypertension and other listed illnesses which may weaken their immune systems.

The Ministry of Health advocates adhering to standard personal hygiene against this disease such as thorough and frequent hand washing,  using tissues or handkerchief if having respiratory symptoms and to dispose of them safely.

As an additional precaution those showing symptoms of the disease, such as cold, cough and sore throat are advised to avoid crowded places and also visit a hospital or a medical clinic if the systems are persistent and severe.