According to recent reports, Bangladesh has directed health officials across the country to remain on alert after finding that the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus has spread rapidly this month.
They said the disease had been remaining at lower levels in Bangladesh from January-March of 2010, but this month it has spread hastily, infecting many across the country, posing a fresh threat of a massive outbreak.
"So, we've asked all officials concerned to remain on alert," Mahmudur Rahman, Head of the country's Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) under the Health Ministry, told Xinhua Tuesday.As to whether there is a possibility of major outbreak of the disease in the country in the coming months, Rahman said the possibility is very low, as they have adequate preparations to contain the spread of the disease.
"The virus sustained at a lower level in Bangladesh during January-March period but it showed rising trend since the beginning of this month," he said, adding this is not something unusual as April-September period is considered to be the peak season of the disease.
He did not cite the exact number of people infected by the disease so far this month but said that the April's figure is not something negligible compared to the first three months of 2010 and confirmed that no one died due to the flu this year.
According to the official record of the Bangladesh Health Ministry, the 2009 H1N1 death toll in the country in 2009 rose to 6.
A 35-year old female flu positive patient in Aug. 31, 2009 died in Dhaka which was first fatality the country has had since recording its first A(H1N1) case on June 18. Three people died until the first week of October, 2009 since June while three other died in the later October and early November period.
Rahman also said that Bangladesh will very shortly launch flu vaccination program as part of its efforts to protect people.
"As part of our strengthening measures we're now collecting flu samples from 28 points of the country instead of 14 earlier," he said, adding there is nothing to be much worried following the disease's rapid outbreak this month as there is also huge supply of medicines in the Health Ministry's stock.
The country's Health Ministry had already permitted the marketing of 2009 H1N1 flu vaccine in the country.
Currently, the Bangladeshi government has asked hospitals and clinics in the country to immediately treat anyone who displays symptoms of H1N1 rather than to spare time by having to test them first.