Ecija school closed after pupil tests positive for A(H1N1)

Duque calls on school officials to report flu-like symptoms to local government units

Classes were temporarily suspended at the Helera Elementary School in Jaen, Nueva Ecija after a pupil tested positive for Influenza A(H1N1). The Department of Health (DOH) is still trying to find out how the pupil contracted the virus, since the child had no history of travel to an affected country.

The DOH found out after school officials alerted local government authorities about several cases of flu among the school children.

Meanwhile, the number of A(H1N1) cases in the Philippines has reached 92. Many of these are children; most are mild. There is no community level transmission yet, but the DOH is preparing to shift from containment to mitigation. Will post details on the press conference later; meanwhile, I’m posting the DOH press release this June 11 2009.

DOH press release:

Update No. 38

DUQUE REPORTS DISCHARGE OF 32 FULLY RECOVERED A (H1N1) PATIENTS AS OF TODAY

11 June 2009

Health Secretary Francisco T., Duque III today disclosed that the DOH has already discharged 32 fully recovered A (H1N1) patients even as he met with the Department of Education, Commission on Higher Education and World Health Organization (WHO), together with the members of the DOH Task Force on Pandemic Preparedness and Response, to discuss the government’s plan of shifting the management of A (H1N1) shift from containment to mitigation.

“With mitigation, the government will be recommending to affected areas with community level transmission to now focus on taking care of the sick, providing guidance for people to protect themselves and their families, and monitoring the outbreak. To date, we stress that we still do not have community level transmission that is why we are still in the containment stage”, Duque said.

Duque said that during mitigation, the government will work closely with the WHO to exchange information about the virus in this country, help understand how the pandemic is evolving and follow developments in scientific and clinical issues.

Duque disclosed that in the event of a pandemic alert 6, the WHO is recommending the following: 1) No border closure as it will not be possible to stop it at said points of entry; 2) No restriction of travel as people who are infected may not show symptoms so they cannot be identified from others who are not infected; 3) Greater emphasis on providing care with a decreased emphasis on stopping the spread of the virus.

Duque also reported today 15 more confirmed A (H1N1) cases, all mild in nature, bringing the total count of positive cases to 92. These 15 new cases involve 10 males and 5 females with age range of 9-50 years old. All are Filipinos. Four have history of travel. These 4 travelled to Japan, Singapore, Mexico and the USA. Contact tracing of said new cases is on-going.

Meanwhile, one confirmed mild case of A (H1N1) in Helera Elementary School in Jaen, Nueva Ecija was reported to the Department of Health (DOH). The voluntary suspension of classes in said school starts today. Contact tracing is now being carried out to determine cases and to put affected households in self quarantine.

With this development, Duque reiterated his call for school authorities across the country to continue reporting to their respective local government officials any unusual occurrence of flu-like symptoms among their students, especially those who travelled lately to countries affected with the novel virus.

Since May 1, 2009, the DOH has monitored a total of 698 Cases Under Observation (CUOs). Of these, 92 were positive A (H1N1) cases, 44 have pending laboratory results, and 562 were negative and have been discarded. There were 31 new CUOs today.

In their latest report dated June 10, the WHO has reported 27,737 cases and 141 deaths from 74 reporting countries. The latest country to report A (H1N1) is Ukraine.

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