03 June 2009

Swine Flu H1N1 Updates

Two weeks after I blogged that the Philippines is influenza A H1N1-free, the Philippines now has 21 cases of swine flu. The days of ordinary miracles has finally ended.

The good news is that there are no deaths yet; the bad news is that it is likely that there will be more cases as the days pass by.

CUO means cases under observation. However, their respective locations remain unknown. Only select Department of Health (DOH) officials know where they are confined or treated. The reason seems to be to prevent panic from ensuing.

More notes:
1. There are now more than 700 cases of swine flu in the Asian region, and it continues to grow. South Korea just confirmed its 42nd case minutes ago.

From Xinhua

2. The median age of those infected in the Philippines is 29 years old. Most of those affected are young people, and the assumption is that the older ones have a more resilient immunity. There is no gender predilection.
3. Classes opened here two days ago in spite of the swine flu threat. Meanwhile, the DOH is on its toes promoting cleanliness by encouraging students and teachers to sing 2 'happy-birthday' songs while frequently washing hands. No kidding. Read it here. Honestly, that is the best prevention strategy at the moment.

4. For a change, the DOH is also on its toes updating its website on the latest news about recent cases. It has a whole section devoted to influenza A H1N1 alone.
5. If you walk the streets in Manila, or roam inside malls and public markets, seldom would you see people wearing masks. The Catholic hierarchy has banned holding hands when praying and saying peace inside churches, but since old habits die hard, this warning is also ignored.
6. UPDATE on 08 June 2009 - DOH still pegs the total number of cases to 33. According to its latest h1N1 update, "One of the 4 new confirmed cases is another student of the De La Salle University (DLSU), a 17 year-old male, who has no history of travel. He manifested mild acute febrile respiratory symptoms on June 2 and consulted a doctor on June 3 heeding the DLSU officials’ advice to its students when it suspended all its classes in Taft. He is presently confined in a health facility and recovering well."

"Duque reiterated that DLSU is the only school that is on a voluntary ten-day suspension due to A (H1N1) at the moment. No other school has approached the Department of Health (DOH) with the same predicament and plan. We also have not confirmed any case involving other schools.

The three other cases all have a history of travel. They all came from the United States. One of them is a foreign national. She is a 29 year-old female, who arrived on June 1 and developed fever and cough shortly thereafter. The remaining two are siblings, a 9 and a 7 year-old, both females, who arrived in the country on June 3. They became ill on June 1 and were screened on arrival and were subsequently brought to a health facility by the Bureau of Quarantine. All three are recovering from their illness in health facilities."

Where those health facilities are, only top-level health officials like Duque knows.

7. UPDATE on 09 June 2009 - There are now 46 more cases.
8. UPDATE on 14 June 2009 --- Worldwide, there are now more than 30,000 (A)H1N1 cases. In the Philippines, the health department pegs the figure at 147 cases. According to the Philippine Daily Inquirer today:
"MANILA, Philippines -- As health officials in Central Luzon reported the country's first community-level transmission in a village in Jaen, Nueva Ecija, the Department of Health central office in Manila placed the national count of confirmed Influenza A(H1N1) virus cases at 147.

Chief epidemiologist Doctor Eric Tayag said on Sunday details on the demographics of the 36 new confirmed cases—there were 111 confirmed cases as of Saturday— were not yet available."
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