A/H1N1 – one of three most common seasonal flu strains in Vietnam

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Hanoi, July 12 (VNA) – Swine flu A/H1N1 is one of the three most common seasonal influenza strains in Vietnam, with at least five deaths recorded since the beginning of this year.

According to the Department of Preventive Medicine under the Ministry of Health, the country reported about 208,800 seasonal flu cases in the first half of this year, with flu B and flu A/H3N2 also common.

The return of flu A/H1N1 in June has caused public concern, especially in Ho Chi Minh City and the two southern provinces of Ca Mau and Vinh Long which saw fatalities.

In Ho Chi Minh City, two outbreaks of A/H1N1 flu strain occurred at Tu Du hospital and Cho Ray Hospital last month, with 40 patients testing positive for the virus.

The A/H1N1 virus causes a respiratory infection with symptoms of a fever, cold, cough, and headache. The virus spreads to the respiratory system, causing other symptoms such as wheezing and phlegm.

Patients suffering from A/H1N1 flu and seasonal flu normally recover after a week.

However, pregnant women, infants and young children under two years old and people over 65 are at elevated risks of complications arising from flu, with death a possibility without timely treatment.

The Ministry of Health said that one of the best preventive measures is vaccination. It also advised the public to upgrade personal hygiene, emphasising the basics of covering their mouths and noses when coughing or sneezing, washing one’s hands with soap and maintaining clean rooms.

If members of the public have symptoms such as fever, cold, or cough, they are asked to wear facemasks, go to their local health clinics and avoid using self-prescribed drugs without a doctor’s instructions.

Vietnam previously experienced an H1N1 pandemic in 2009, with more than 9,000 cases of people contracting the disease and nearly twenty deaths in four months, according to the ministry.

Doctor Truong Huu Khanh from HCM City Children’s Hospital 1 said A/H1N1 flu was infectious but fatalities only happen to those who had weak immune systems.

Tests showed that this is the old type of the H1N1 virus that broke out worldwide in 2009 and vaccinations against the virus are successful, according to Khanh.

It could only cause an epidemic if a new type of virus appeared with a modified structure, he said./.