‘Elephant Flu’ Spreads to Myitkyina University

An outbreak of the disease began last month in neighboring Mohnyin and Mogaung townships.

Students at Myitkyina University in the Kachin State capital have fallen ill with a variant of the influenza virus known as “elephant flu”, according the university’s Student Union.

“The flu virus spread from students who had returned from visiting their homes in Mohnyin and Mogaung. Now it is spreading through the dormitory. I have also been affected by this flu virus,” Arkar Kyaw, the secretary of Myitkyina University’s Student Union, told KNG.

He added that the university’s administrators have been informed of the outbreak and that a request has been made for medical care and help with containing its spread to other people on campus.

“We have already received their request and are preparing to spray for mosquitos around their dormitory. We have also reported it to the Kachin State Public Health Department and instructed those in charge of the dormitory to tell students to take herbal medicine for preliminary protection,” the university’s rector, Dr. Aung Win, told KNG.

According to Dr. Aung Win, several students at the university are known to have contracted the virus, but their parents have already taken them back to their homes.

An outbreak of elephant flu has been spreading through Kachin State’s Mohnyin and Mogaung townships since last month. Medics from the Burma Army’s Northern Regional Military Command and volunteer healthcare workers have been providing medical treatment to patients in the two townships, both located southwest of Myitkyina.

Earlier this week, public health officials issued a warning about an outbreak of the H1N1 flu virus in the state, urging local people to take precautions against catching the disease.

To avoid contracting or spreading the virus, Dr. Z. Lum Hkawng of the state’s Public Health Department said that people need to cover their nose and mouth with a handkerchief when coughing or sneezing, and should also thoroughly wash their hands with soap and water on a regular basis.

Dr. Z. Lum Hkawng said that as of the third week of July, 26 people in Myitkyina had contracted the disease, including one patient who had died. Nationwide, 62 people have died from the disease since last month, including 40 in Yangon alone.

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