Be cautious of swine flu in Sri Lanka: Maldives

  • Sutirtho Patranobis, Hindustan Times, Colombo
  • |
  • Updated: Dec 29, 2010 21:40 IST

Maldives has not called for travel restrictions but has asked its citizens to be careful while traveling to Sri Lanka in view of new cases of swine flu being reported.

According to reports, swine flu has killed at least 22 people in Sri Lanka since October. More than 300 were infected by the virus, which spreads by respiratory routes.

Earlier this week, the health ministry figures at least 22 people had died of H1N1 virus since end of October. Heavy rains across the country for the past one month had helped the virus to spread, an epidemiologist told AFP.

"The strain of influenza affects peoples' lungs and triggers off a strain of viral pneumonia. The heavy rains and the cold weather helped spread the virus," government epidemiologist Sudath Peiris told the news agency.

According to the ColomboPage website an official of the Maldives Centre for Community Health and Disease Control (CCHDC) told the independent Maldives news site Minivan News that it was not calling for any travel restrictions as a result of the influenza report, but added that the centre did urge travellers to be cautious when visiting Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka's English Daily Mirror online quoting another Maldivian news source reported on Tuesday that the CCHDC has advised the Maldivians to reduce travel to Sri Lanka.

The CCHDC urged the travelers to exercise caution and maintain basic hygiene measures like washing hands, particularly among those most susceptible to the disease such as pregnant women, children and the elderly.

The World Health Organization declared the swine flu pandemic over in August, more than a year after the new virus spread around the world, sparking panic and killing thousands before fizzling out.


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