PRIME Minister Hun Sen contracted the A(H1N1) influenza virus late last week, and five other government officials – including a deputy prime minister and two senior ministers – have since exhibited signs of it, according to a statement issued Tuesday by Health Minister Mam Bunheng.
According to the statement, Hun Sen was likely exposed to the virus, commonly known as swine flu, during or immediately after a meeting at the Council of Ministers last Friday.
He has since received treatment from “very professional Cambodian doctors”, and “the health of Samdech is recovering”, the statement reads.
It goes on to say that tests conducted on all officials who attended Friday’s meeting have revealed “the positive sign of AH1N1” in five officials: deputy prime minister Yim Chhai Ly, senior ministers Chhay Than and Tao Seng Hour and officials Kim Ith and Ith Mith.
The virus caused Hun Sen to miss Monday’s celebrations marking the 59th anniversary of the Cambodian People’s Party, and “some programmes of Samdech were also cancelled”, according to the statement.
Council of Ministers spokesman Phay Siphan said Tuesday that he could not provide any information beyond what was included in the statement.
Mam Bunheng could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
Nima Asgari, public health specialist at the World Health Organisation, said Tuesday that swine flu patients often recover quickly.
“Usually you would be ill for about one week if you don’t develop severe symptoms,” he said. “It is difficult to say how dangerous it is for an individual, but many people have had it, and mortality rates are quite low.”
As of June 24, there had been 591 domestic cases of swine flu resulting in six deaths since the virus was first reported in June 2009, according to Health Ministry statistics.