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50-year-old woman is RP's 2nd case of A(H1N1) infection

May 24, 2009 11:46am
(Updated 2:44 p.m.) MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines on Sunday reported its second confirmed case of Influenza A(H1N1) virus infection.

The Department of Health (DOH) announced this a day after a 30-year-old Taiwanese woman and her five-year-old daughter who traveled in the Philippines for five days have tested positive for H1N1 virus in Taiwan.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said the second index case of A(H1N1) is a 50-year-old Filipina who arrived in the country from Chicago in the United States last May 20.

“We are stepping up our preparedness and response plan more intensely. We have been working round the clock especially now that we are officially announcing the second confirmed case of H1N1 in the country," Duque said in a press briefing at the Lung Center of the Philippines in Quezon City.

He assured the public that the government remains on top of the situation.

He said the woman, whose identity was withheld, sought a doctor after noticing mild symptoms of the dreaded flu, including coughs and fever, the day after her arrival.

Duque said the patient is currently under observation at the Research Institute of Tropical Medicine (RITM) in Manila. The government is now tracing those who made contacts with her.

“She only has mild symptoms which include fever and cough. At present, she does not have symptoms. She was immediately started on medications and is currently being monitored," he said.

Last Thursday, the DOH reported that a 10-year-old girl who also came from US was the country's first case of the dreaded flu virus, which has caused more than 80 deaths worldwide, most of them in Mexico.

Duque said the child “is now almost fully recovered with only mild sore throat."

“She is completing her antiviral medications and will be discharged as soon as repeat PCR for Influenza A (H1N1) is negative. Contact tracing has also been done and all household contacts were given antiviral prophylaxis," he said.


In Malacañang, President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo is set to spearhead a campaign for hygiene and sanitation in schools, in time for the opening of classes on June 1, in the wake of the A(H1N1) threat.

Press Secretary Cerge Remonde said Mrs. Arroyo would meet with parents and teachers on Monday to dialogue on the issue and discuss it inTuesday’s Cabinet meeting.

“Ngayong Monday mangunguna si Pangulong Gloria Macapagal Arroyo together with Secretary Duque sa isang paaralan sa San Miguel sa Manila kung saan ang Pangulo makikipag-dayalogo sa parents at teachers sa isang elementary school," Remonde said on government-run dzRB radio.

[On Monday, Mrs. Arroyo and Secretary Duque III will hold a dialogue with parents and teachers at a school in San Miguel in Manila.]

He said the dialogue is part of “promoting awareness" especially on hygiene and sanitation, to prevent the spread of the A(H1N1) virus.

Meanwhile, the A(H1N1) problem has prompted several Catholic churches in the country to distribute communion by hand during Sunday mass.

In several churches in Metro Manila, an announcement was made before the Holy Communion that the hosts were to be distributed only by hand. The Church however did not advise families against holding hands during the "Ama Namin (Our Father)."

The policy was reminiscent of the policy adopted by the Church to distribute hosts by hand in 2003, as a precaution against Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).

On Saturday, the CBCP threw its full support behind the DOH in preventing the spread of A(H1N1).

CBCP President Angel Lagdameo exhorted the faithful to follow the advisories of the DOH in preventing the spread of A(H1N1).

“Komo hindi tayo duktor o nurse kinakailangan tayo maging observant at susundin ang payo ng duktor sa ating maysakit [We are not doctors or nurses. We need to be observant and follow the advice of doctors]," Lagdameo said in an interview on dzXL radio.

He also pointed out the CBCP already issued a pastoral exhortation as early as May 2, urging people to heed advisories from the DOH. - GMANews.TV
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