|09BANDARSERIBEGAWAN139||2009-06-22 07:59:00||UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY||Embassy Bandar Seri Begawan|
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UNCLAS BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN 000139
1. (SBU) Brunei's Ministry of Health (MoH) reported two confirmed
H1N1 cases in Brunei. Both cases are students who had returned from
Singapore and London, respectively. Two Bruneians, who were
traveling in Saudi Arabia, were also reported as confirmed cases.
The Government continues to issue warnings regarding travel to
countries with confirmed cases, however this does not appear to be
causing travel cancellations on a wide spread scale. Seasonal flu,
Influenza A, is also spreading in Brunei. There is confusion
regarding the use of the seasonal flu vaccine to treat H1N1.
Additional screenings at ports of entry for all incoming passengers
is likely as well as stricter quarantine protocols. End Summary.
BRUNEI'S FIRST H1N1 CASES
2. (SBU) Brunei's first domestic H1N1 cases were reported by
Brunei's Ministry of Health (MoH). A nineteen year old student and
a sixteen year old student were the first confirmed cases of H1N1.
The nineteen year old had returned from London where he was on
summer holidays. MoH reported that fellow passengers on his Royal
Brunei Airlines flight would not be tested as there was a low risk
of infection as he was not symptomatic on the flight. The sixteen
year old was returning from Singapore and did not develop any
symptoms until a few days after her return. MoH officials decided
not to test fellow passengers on her return flight. At this time,
both students are reported in good condition and are in quarantine
at local hospitals. Last week, two Bruneians had been reported as
confirmed H1N1 cases in Saudi Arabia. Both had since been released
from the hospital and have been allowed to continue their trip.
3. (SBU) The MoH continues to advise the Bruneian public not to
travel to affected countries. However, there have been numerous
press stories reporting that travel plans have not/not been delayed
or cancelled. In addition, the Government of Brunei (GoB) continues
to send its officials for international conferences and meetings.
These include meetings in the United States. MoH officials plan to
purchase H1N1 vaccines for treatment of up to twenty percent of the
population. However, with the spread of the seasonal flu strain,
there is confusion regarding the usage of the seasonal flu vaccine
to "treat" H1N1 patients. MoH officials have noted publicly that the
season flu vaccine is not a treatment or inoculation against the
H1N1 flu strain.
4. (SBU) To date, Brunei had been fortunate to have no H1N1 cases.
However, the real test will be the MoH and overall public reactions
and responses to the confirmed cases. There has been speculation of
additional quarantines, especially at local medical centers, for
those who show any flu like symptoms. Additional airport screenings
are proposed, but MoH has limited staff it can dedicate to this
effort. Fortunately, no embassy personnel or American Citizens in
Brunei have reported as H1N1 flu cases.