By LYN V. RAMO
Posted by Bulatlat
BAGUIO CITY— Two persons have tested positive for the influenza A (H1N1) virus in the Cordillera, the local Department of Health (DoH) revealed in a press briefing here late last week. Twelve more are identified as possibly infected.
Earlier, on May 26, there were only four cases under observation (CUOs) in three unidentified provinces in the Cordillera.
By May 28, eight new cases plus two additional CUOs were identified through intensive surveillance and the heightened awareness of the public, said DoH Regional Director Myrna Cabotaje.
One case was confirmed May 28 and another tested positive May 29. Both patients were up and about and were fast recovering from the symptoms with no signs of fever by the afternoon of May 29
Three of the four earlier detected CUOs have tested negative, including two of four children CUOs. The 11-month-old baby earlier reported to have been confined at the Pines Doctors’ Hospital and Medical Center here is among those found negative of the H1N1 virus.
Cabotaje said only one stayed in the hospital. “The trend is no fever, but all these either had a history of travel from foreign countries, or contact with the foreign nationals found positive of the H1N1 or influenza A,” said Cabotaje.
She said the DOH is probing the possibility that the H1N1 infections in the country did not originate from the two Taiwanese women who recently attended a wedding in Zambales.
As this developed, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III announced there are six new cases nationwide, bringing to 14 the number of laboratory-confirmed cases persons afflicted with the virus by May 29.
Worldwide, the new flu strain in humans has affected 53 countries, with a total of 15,5l0 confirmed cases and 99 deaths, based on May 29 data from the World Health Organization.
Without mentioning any specific figure, Cabotaje said most of the CUOs in the region are locals, with some foreign nationals whose nationality and countries of origin she did not mention.
The intensive surveillance on some 50 suspected cases was an offshoot of what happened to the two Taiwanese women who attended a wedding party in Zambales and tested positive of the H1N1 virus upon their return to Taiwan. Some of the CUOs in the Cordillera came into contact with the said Taiwanese.
Cordillera surveillance for the disease started with the CUOs volunteering to report in hospitals. They either have exhibited flu symptoms such as cough, fever and sore throat, and have a history of travel to countries like the US and Mexico or a history of having contact with those who have been proven positive of the H1N1 virus within 10 days prior to the manifestation of the symptoms.
Cabotaje earlier this week called on the public to do self-monitoring of people who they suspect of having contracted the virus.
With self-monitoring, the suspected patient may practice self-quarantine for 10 days until the findings prove negative, Cabotaje said.
“What is certain up to now is that the extent of disease infection in the country is still uncertain,” Cabotaje told Baguio-based press. Although the CUOs in the country show only mild signs, the DoH still encourages the public to be vigilant and report to health facilities once the flu symptoms are evident.
While encouraging the public to take the ordinary flu shots, the DoH frowns at self-medication. Duque expects an increase in confirmed cases in the nest few weeks.
In Benguet, Dr. Steven Piok, provincial health officer, created a task force and started a massive public orientation on H1N1 especially among health service providers. Kalinga also created a similar task force.
Baguio City Health Officer Dr. Florence Reyes has also started an orientation program for schools, especially those accepting foreign students.
Cabotaje also appealed to students, teachers and non-teaching staff coming from foreign countries to observe self-quarantine for 10 days upon arrival. (Northern Dispatch / Posted by (Bulatlat.com))