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Deadly Influenza Now In Cameroon 

By Daniel Gwarbarah

The Minister of Public Health, André Mama Fouda, has declared four reported cases of the A H1N1 influenza virus in the country.Mama Fouda made the declaration in Yaoundé August 13, at a ceremony to hand over posters and fliers to the Ministry of Transport for sensitisation and fight against the A H1N1 and bird flu in the air and sea ports in the country.

Bello Bouba (R) and Mama Fouda talking to the press on efforts to combat virus

"The A H1N1 virus is effective in Cameroon since August with four cases confirmed in Yaoundé by the virology laboratory of Centre Pasteur of Cameroon," Mama Fouda declared. He stated that the first case was confirmed on August 6, the second on August 7 and two other cases on August 10, 2009.

The Minister added that, the AH1N1 influenza is transmitted like any other virus and has already affected more than half of the countries in the world. "On July 31, 2009, more than 160, 000 cases were declared worldwide by the World Health Organisation, WHO, with over 1000 registered deaths. In Africa, 17 countries including Cameroon, have been touched with three deaths registered over in 1, 470 confirmed cases," he declared.

He said 1,500 fliers and 10, 000 posters in both English and French will be used in ports of entry for sensitisation and prevention against A H1N1 and Bird Flu viruses. Acknowledging the primordial role ports of entry play, the Minister said they deemed it necessary to associate the transport sector in the surveillance, detection and quick treatment of reported cases.
 The Minister said some symptoms of the A H1N1 Flu include fever, cough, sneezing, catarrh and muscle ache.

Mama Fouda stated that measures have been taken by the government to fight the A H1N1 Flu. According to him, the Yaounde Central Hospital and the Douala Laquintinie Hospital have been short-listed as centres for isolation and treatment of reported cases. Screening equipment have been made available to institutions like Centre Pasteur, he added.

The Health Minister urged the population to collaborate with health services by providing relevant information as well as following the advice of health personnel. In a statement at the occasion, the Minister of Transport, Bello Bouba Maigari, said the move by his Ministry and that of Public Health is part of government’s effort to ensure the safety and wellbeing of Cameroonians.

Bello Bouba insisted that those working at ports of entry should collaborate with health officials in identifying and reporting promptly all suspected cases for immediate systematic testing.
The sensitisation campaign is jointly undertaken by the Cameroon government, the US Embassy, the WHO and the European Union.

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