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Doctor Outlines Swine Flu Prevention

As cases of swine flu continued to emerge around the globe, a leading health official warned Cambodians to take everyday precautions against the disease.

Coughs and sneezes should be covered by the hand, and spitting in public should be avoided, said Dr. Sok Touch, director of the Ministry of Health’s communicable disease control department, as a guest Thursday on “Hello VOA.”

“People should wash their hands regularly to avoid the virus,” he said, adding that it was still considered safe to eat pork.

Sok Touch encouraged people to remain calm about the disease, which emerged in Mexico and has spread as far as Canada, Europe, South America and New Zealand.

Cambodia is prepared for an outbreak, he said, because it has put structures in place since dealing with SARS and the bird flu in the past and has close cooperation with the World Health Organization.

Symptoms for swine flu, caused by the H1N1 virus, appear as normal flu, but attack the lungs. Patients can die within seven days of contracting the virus, he said.

The virus appears to spread easily from person to person, but Sok Touch said Thursday the virus could come from directly touching a sick pig.

Cambodians suspicious of an outbreak should call the government’s hotline, at 012 488 981 or 089 669 567.