Half of the residents of Mondulkiri’s Norng Buor village fell ill during a mass flu outbreak this weekend, prompting a rapid mobilisation of the province’s health authorities, who ascribed the flu’s rapid spread to poor hygiene.
After receiving a call from the Norng Khilik commune chief on Friday describing widespread flu symptoms in Norng Buor, Bun Suor, the head of the Mondulkiri provincial health department, a team of doctors and nurses and Provincial Governor Svay Sam Eang departed for the village, where they recorded 211 cases of the flu.
“We [collected] the body fluids and blood of the people whose temperature was over 30 degrees Celsius,” said Suor, adding that the samples will be examined at the Pasteur Institute. “Ninety-nine percent of them just got fever, cough and flu, nothing else.”
Khilik Commune Police Chief Than Vanny said yesterday that 193 other villagers reported flu-like symptoms yesterday. Between Friday and Saturday, Vanny said, a total of 404 people, nearly half of the village’s population, had fallen ill.
According to Suor, poor hygiene, including the failure of villagers to wash their hands, allowed for the flu’s rapid transmission.
Beyond providing medical treatment in the village, Suor said he and his team took the opportunity to educate locals about how they can prevent sickness by taking simple precautions – such as hand washing – to improve hygiene.
Two years ago, he said, the village underwent a less significant flu outbreak, though he could not recall how many people fell sick.