Belgium remains vigilant for swine flu

29th April 2009, Comments 0 comments

Six Belgians who displayed flu symptoms after they had stayed in areas that were infected by the Mexican flu are not infected after all.

The Belgian Influenza Commission has been following cases carefully and has asked Belgians who experience flu symptoms to call their doctor. In the meantime, six more Belgians have come down with flu symptoms.

In the case of the six Belgians who may have come into contact with the new strain of swine flu (through travel abroad), the Influenza Commission has confirmed that it is not the A/H1N1 flu virus that is a combination of bird, pig and human viruses.

The analysis was carried out by the Scientific Institute of Public Health. The six Belgians: three children and three adults, who developed the flu symptoms independent of each other, are being treated with antiviral medication. Another suspect case in Belgium also turned out to be a false alarm.

"Do not travel to Mexico if you don't have to"

Belgian Minister of Public Health Laurette Onkelinx (Francophone Socialist) has in the meantime advised people not to travel to Mexico or the areas in the United States that have confirmed cases of the Mexican flu unless it is absolutely necessary.

Virologist, and chairman of the Influenza Commission, Marc Van Ranst, declared today, "We are concerned but not worried, and there is certainly no reason to panic."

The European Commission called an emergency meeting of EU health ministers yesterday to discuss the threat of Mexican flu.

The European Health Commissioner, Androulla Vassiliou, has also recommended that all non-essential trips to Mexico and areas within the United States where flu has been diagnosed should be postponed.

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