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First swine flu case confirmed

First swine flu case confirmed

A Phnom Penh pharmacist displays an assortment of flu medicine at her shop on Wednesday.

Photo by: TRACEY SHELTON

A Phnom Penh pharmacist displays an assortment of flu medicine at her shop on Wednesday.

THE Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation confirmed Cambodia's first case of swine flu Wednesday after an American teen on a school trip to the Kingdom tested positive for the influenza A(H1N1) virus.

The 16-year-old , who arrived in Phnom Penh on Friday, is currently being held in isolation at Calmette Hospital, said Nima Asgari, the WHO's public health specialist in communicable disease surveillance and response.

According to a joint press release from the Health Ministry and the WHO, she "is recovering well without any complications".

After falling ill on Saturday, she went to a private health clinic, where based on her travel history and symptoms, she was held in isolation until tests confirmed she had swine flu, at which point she was moved to Calmette, Minister of Health Man Bunheng said.

Though Calmette Hospital is currently the main isolation centre, Asgari said other hospitals also had isolation facilities, which could be used if it becomes necessary.

The school group that the teenager arrived with is under voluntary observation.

Asgari said there is no information suggesting that any members of the group are suffering from flu-like symptoms, but that "If you have close contact, you might well get it".

In an April 30 press conference, the ministry reported that Cambodia had only stockpiled 157,500 Tamiflu pills.

But Asgari said that Cambodians should not be overly worried about H1N1 and that verybody in Cambodia should simply observe basic sanitation like washing hands with soap and coughing into elbows.

"The concern is, if it evolves and becomes very virulent, but this hasn't happened yet," Asgari said. "We need to be vigilant but not panic."

The latest WHO statistics show that the virus has infected more than 52,000 people in 90 countries, resulting in 231 deaths.

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