RP reports first death connected with Influenza A(H1N1)

The DOH announces the first death related to Influenza A(H1N1) in the Philippines

A 49-year-old Filipina died Friday, on the third day of showing flu-like symptoms. The autopsy said she died of “congestive heart failure secondary to acute myocardial infarction aggravated by severe pneumonia either bacterial, viral or both.”
A throat swab, however, revealed that she was also positive for Influenza A(H1N1).
The health department won’t directly attribute the death to A(H1N1) because she had a chronic heart disease. But it is advising those “with underlying medical conditions” to see a doctor once they develop flu-like symptoms — cough, cold, fever.
The woman did not travel to an affected country, or had contact with a person positive with A(H1N1). The DOH is still trying to figure out how she could have contracted the virus.

Update 48

DUQUE REPORTS HIGH RISK PATIENT WHO DIES OF HEART ATTACK FOUND WITH A(H1N1); 84% OF ALL REPORTED CASES HAVE FULLY RECOVERED

22 June 2009

Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III today reported the death of a 49-year old female who is known to have a pre-existing chronic heart disease was also found to be positive for A (H1N1). He said that the patient presented with flu-like symptoms starting on June 17 consisting of dry cough, fever and chills and difficulty of breathing just before death on June 19.

Duque said that post-autopsy findings disclosed that the death was caused by congestive heart failure secondary to acute myocardial infarction aggravated by severe pneumonia either bacterial, viral or both. He said a throat-swab revealed that she was positive for A (H1N1).

“Given the available information, we cannot conclude that the death is due to A (H1N1). But in other countries which have reported A (H1N1) deaths, majority have pre-existing medical conditions. We condole with the family of the patient as we mourn her untimely death,’’ Duque said.

Because of this first reported case of death in a patient with an incidental finding of A (H1N1) in the country, Duque said that the Department of Health will be more aggressive in targeting segments of patients with a high vulnerability to fatal flu complications saying that they should be the ones receiving the most care and attention by healthcare professionals.

“We want to make it clear that high-risk groups, once they have the flu symptoms, should immediately go to their doctor. They should not wait for their symptoms to worsen because they are prone to many infections other than the novel virus such as our seasonal flu strains. These are patients with uncontrolled diabetes, frank cardiovascular disease, COPD, organ transplant recipients, those who are immunocompromised, those with chronic liver and kidney disease, people suffering from other infections like HIV/AIDs and TB, pregnant women and the very young and the elderly,” Duque clarified.

At present, the DOH is revising the interim guidelines for managing and treating A (H1N1) cases to ensure that vulnerable populations are prioritized and receive immediately the appropriate modicum of care. This is in accordance with the Pandemic Alert Level 6 declaration of the World Health Organization which recommends to its member states to focus on managing cases, especially severe ones, rather than containment to prevent the spread of the virus.

“We would like to reemphasize that, globally and locally, the overwhelming majority of cases only experience mild symptoms and, eventually, make a rapid and full recovery, often even without any form of medical intervention,” Duque stressed.

“It is prudent for parents to seek professional care for children with rapid breathing, excessive drowsiness or dehydration. In adults, chest pain, prolonged fever or labored breathing should prompt warnings to see a doctor,” Duque reminded the public.

“We need to make sure that our resources are efficiently used and that they will give us the best outcomes by targeting people who are at risk for developing complications,’ Duque said.

Meanwhile, Duque advised the public to continue heeding the recommendations of the DOH on proper handwashing, cough etiquette, and other hygiene practices.

“The best defense against A (H1N1) and other diseases is to boost your immune system. Most people can fight off this virus without special medications or hospitalization. You can stay at home and take supportive care like plenty of fluids, vitamins and bed rest,” Duque stressed.

Duque also disclosed that 35 more have fully recovered from the novel virus, thus bringing the total count of those who have fully recovered to 374. This number constitutes 84% of the total confirmed cases reported since May 21.

Duque also said that there are 17 more confirmed cases recorded today. These additional patients bring the total sum of confirmed cases to 445.

The new 17 cases involved 8 males and 9 females. The age range of these cases is 11-58 years old, with 19 as median age.

Duque noted that 15 of these cases are Filipinos, while the remaining 2 are foreigners. He added that of 3 of these 17 cases have travelled to a country affected with A (H1N1).

On the other hand, as of June 19, the World Health Organization reported 44,287 cases with 180 deaths from 90 reporting countries.

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