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Ministry of Health officials leave for intl conference on swine flu

A DELEGATION from the Ministry of Health left Cambodia on Thursday morning to attend a public health conference in Beijing, where experts from around the world are to discuss measures to contain outbreaks of A(H1N1), or swine flu, the ministry said.

The conference, to be held today and Saturday, is to include health officials from several countries affected by outbreaks of the deadly flu, the ministry said.

Minister of Health Mam Bunheng said Thursday that the Cambodian government had been working on H1N1 prevention even before the first reported cases within the Kingdom, having seen news of its spread in Western countries.

The Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation reported Cambodia's first case of swine flu on June 25. Twenty-six cases have been reported so far, with no deaths.

"The biggest prioritiy for our country as winter approaches is to make sure people are aware of precautionary measures including washing their hands frequently, not spitting in public, using tissues or handkerchiefs, and avoiding crowds," he said.

This message is especially important to communicate to people leaving near the Thai border, Mam Bunheng added.

Thailand has reported more than 4,000 confirmed cases of swine flu, and 111 deaths, as of earlier this week.

More than 182,000 cases of swine flu have been confirmed worldwide, according to data released last week by the WHO, which warned the actual number of cases was likely much higher.

Nearly 1,800 people have died from swine flu since the outbreak was reported in April.

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