RP's H1N1 cases jump to 46

MANILA - Thirteen new cases of influenza A (H1N1) were confirmed over the weekend bringing the Philippines' total swine flu cases to 46 from 33 last Friday.

Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque announced Monday afternoon that 8 Filipinos and 5 foreigners were confirmed to have influenza A (H1N1).

Of the 13 new cases, four are students of the De La Salle University (DLSU), the first school in the Philippines to postpone classes as a result of an outbreak of swine flu in the Taft campus in Manila.

One of the new cases is from Far Eastern University (FEU)-East Asia College.

Over the weekend, FEU moved the opening of classes from June 8 to 17 in an attempt to prevent the spread of the H1N1 virus. It declared June 8 to 16 as a school holiday.

“We have reached 46 and although it’s a big number, we are fortunate that all of these are just mild cases which are consistent with most of the cases of A (H1N1) we are seeing in other affected countries,” Duque said.

“All are responding well to treatment. Contact tracing is still on-going,” he said.

Of the 13 new cases, five are females and eight are males.

Eight of the 13 new cases have history of travel to the US, Japan, and Canada.

Based on the latest World Health Organization update, as of June 5, there were 21,940 cases of A (H1N1) infection in 69 countries with 125 deaths.

Duque said this means that the fatality rate of H1N1 is around one out of 1,000, with 90% of the cases in Mexico.

Shift to mitigation

Since most of the H1N1 cases in the Philippines are "mostly mild in nature," Duque said the DOH will be shifting its "control strategy from containment to mitigation."

“This means that we only do early detection and aggressive treatment of cases as they come especially for those with high-risk pre-existing conditions. Those manifesting with mild symptoms can be managed and monitored at home so that only patients at risk who develop complications will have to be hospitalized,” he said.

The new strategy also means that the government will "veer away from contact tracing and instead focus on controlling the disease as is being done for other emerging and reemerging diseases in the country," Duque said.

“H1N1 will now become part of our Influenza-like Illness (ILI) surveillance activity and one of our notifiable diseases. It offers little benefit to do extensive tracing of this virus when it is clear that the disease can be passed on to others at a rate faster than it will ever be humanly possible to find the contacts,” he said.

Duque said that with the "more complete mild picture of the virus observed among positive cases in La Salle and East Asia University, there may be no need to order school closure in the future even with a confirmed case."

In affected countries such as the US and Mexico where the number of cases have been increasing so fast, Duque said "these countries have managed to curb down the case fatality rate due to A (H1N1) through early diagnosis and antiviral treatment as well as targeted and appropriate management of patients at risk for developing flu complications."

He urged the public not to panic, especially school communities.

Duque cited the case of a school which suspended classes after it was reported that a student had diptheria, not swine flu.



Post a Comment