Thursday, July 02, 2009

Zamboanga reports first Influenza A (H1N1) case

ZAMBOANGA CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / July 2, 2009) – Philippine health authorities on Thursday confirmed another case of Influenza A (H1N1) in Zamboanga City in Mindanao.

Authorities said a nine-year old student from Ateneo de Zamboanga was positively tested for the virus. The boy, a Grade 3 student, was infected with the deadly virus after contacts with a woman who came to Zamboanga from Manila on June 12.

Officials did not say whether the woman was the boy’s relative or not.

They said the woman was apparently unaware that she was infected with the virus and learned about it when she returned to Manila and has been tested positive from Influenza A (H1N1).

She phoned the boy’s family in Zamboanga and told them to bring the child to the hospital for medical test. The boy is the first confirmed case of Influenza A (H1N1) in Zamboanga.

Fr Antonio Moreno, president of the Ateneo de Zamboanga, has confirmed the case and said they are assessing the situation and would be meeting with health officials whether to suspend the class where the boy belongs.

“We will be meeting also with all the parents of the students in that particular class to determine if there is a need to temporarily suspend the whole class or not. There are some cases of flu and colds in that class, but we still don’t know whether it is Influenza A or not and we have already sent swab samples to Manila to determine if they are Influenza A,” he said.

Several suspected infections were also reported in other government elementary schools in Zamboanga, but laboratory tests are still on going. It was not immediately known how many suspected cases were reported in those schools. But health officials said there are at least 12 suspected cases of the virus in Zamboanga City; 2 in Isabela City in nearby Basilan province and two in Zamboanga del Norte and 2 more in Zamboanga del Sur provinces.

The Influenza A (H1N1) virus is spread from person-to-person. It is transmitted as easily as the normal seasonal flu and can be passed to other people by exposure to infected droplets expelled by coughing or sneezing that can be inhaled, or that can contaminate hands or surfaces.

The signs of influenza A (H1N1) are flu-like, including fever, cough, headache, muscle and joint pain, sore throat and runny nose, and sometimes vomiting and diarrhea.

Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III reported that the Department of Health (DOH) is further bolstering its mitigation efforts against Influenza A (H1N1) in light of the anticipated rise of cases in the country.

“As we anticipate more cases in the coming months, we must institute effective mitigation measures to save lives and prevent deaths and to reduce the impact of the pandemic to our nation and the economy,” Duque said.

Duque said that 1,709 confirmed A (H1N1) cases have been reported to the DOH from the May to June. He said 1,485 of these cases have already recovered, while the rest are still under treatment.

“All cases exhibited mild symptoms with the most common as fever (86%), cough (81%), and nasal congestion (49%),” Duque said, noting however, that there was one reported death in Manila – a 49-year old woman who was an employee of the House of Representatives.

Duque disclosed that of the 1,709 reported cases, 1,568 were Filipinos; the rest were American (17), Japanese (8), Chine (4), Korean (3), German (2), and one each from Australia, Canada, India, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Sweden, Thailand, and Turkey. (Mindanao Examiner)

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