by Tammy, this blog humanity journalist
A Chula doctor told TNN TV today that the Thai 2009 flu is under control in Bangkok, but is spreading to the peak in the E-Sarn region.
“Bangkok is now safe, but E-Sarn is at the peak of infection…However, I don’t see the death rate going up with the infection,” said the Chula doctor.
Death rate is still high, adding 11 death to the total of close to 200, in the latest report. The rate has slowed however, from some 20 death per report round, a few months ago. This indicates about a 50% fall since then.
The doctor said he expected the E-Sarn outbreak to cause less death. The reason given namely focused on availability of medicine and a more aware public and health officials.
Bangkok’s population is about 10 million and E-Sarn about 27 million.
The Abhisit government, reacting slowly by saying the flu is nothing, when it first broke, have since rushed in many measures including medicines and a rush to equip hospitals and health units outside Bangkok with latest laboratory equipments.
However, many in Thailand continues to be worried as health official statements from the government and those outside of Bangkok says that it is not the 2009 flu that is causing death, but related illness.
“The death is because these patients have illness like heart condition or other conditions and it is not the flu that is the cause of death,” said a senior Thai health official. To many health care officials, that could mean the flu impact is understated and the impact miss-assessed.
The government have been greatly criticized for its initial reaction and have since increased its focus. However, some government have play down the flu impact to the point of invoking death rate of other causes in Thailand to play-down the 2009 flu as not being very important or critical.
Thailand is still a developing country where a close and extended family, and close communities still characterize much of the area outside of Bangkok. Some health official warns that this is both an opportunity to spread information effectively, but also a risk in high level of infection.
The situation on the flu have all but disappeared from most of Thai communications channels. The message that gets propagated and gets media attention, are all on positive news.