First death due to Influenza A H1N1 among Afghan citizens

Ministry of Public Health (MoPH), Afghanistan

October 28, 2009

After detection of 50 cases of Influenza AH1N1 among foreign citizens in Bagram Airbase on UN compound and two cases among their Afghan colleagues, one case of influenza was detected in a lady pilgrim of Hajj on board of first flight to Madina. She was diagnosed and treated in a hospital in Madina, Saudi Arabia. The second case of influenza AH1N1 who succumbed to death, was an engineer who he and his family were infected by the influenza AH1N1 virus last week.

Other members of his family recovered after being treated for seasonal influenza. Engineer Mirwais, 35, developed pneumonia and was referred to a private hospital, ARIANA. The staff of ARIANA hospital diagnosed the case as severe pneumonia with a brief respiratory arrest on 25 October 2009. Next day, 26 October 2009, the case was introduced to MoPH for influenza AH1N1 test, examination and treatment. On 27 October 2009 the case was tested positive for the novel influenza (influenza AH1N1) and in the afternoon of same day he got the specific treatment for the influenza AH1N1 and preventative measures were given to his family members and contact persons in ARIANA hospital.

Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) sends it's condolences to the family of Enginer Mirwais and wishes other members of his family health, safety and patience. Unfortunately in spite of specific therapy against influenza AH1N1 and treatment by specialists of ARIANA hospital, he died this morning (28 October 2009). MoPH specialists based on global experience indicate that late Mirwais succumbed to death due to late arrival to hospital and late diagnosis and advanced progress of the disease. Influenza AH1N1 fatality rate at best situations even in western countries is 2 percent said Dr. SMA Fatimie.

MoPH advises the following preventative measures to all Afghans:

1. Many cases of influenza occur mild and moderate and do not need specific treatment and will be treated by rest, diet and supportive measures.

2. For the diagnosis and treatment of severe cases and those with fever that do not respond to ordinary treatment, MoPH has all preparedness and people should not panic.

3. For prevention of disease transmission, preventative and hygienic measures are very important. We appeal to all Afghans with cold and fever to stay at home and seek medical help. They should stay away from other members of their families and should cover their nose and mouth during sneezing by towels and discard towels properly.

Healthy people should avoid hand shaking and hugging with ill people, observe hygiene and wash their hands with soap and avoid touching their nose and eyes with their unwashed hands. 

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