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Leyte reports RP's 5th A(H1N1)-related death

July 22, 2009 3:15pm

Tags: Leyte
A 56-year-old female American school employee in Leyte who was found positive for Influenza A(H1N1) virus died on Tuesday, but a local health official said the dreaded disease had little to do with her death.

Dr. Minerva Molon, assistant regional health director for Eastern Visayas, said the victim worked in the administration department of a private international school in Tacloban City.

In an interview with GMANews.TV, Molon said the patient developed a fever on July 8, and that five days later, her mouth swab sample confirmed she contracted the virus.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has placed the worldwide A(H1N1) death toll at over 700.

Molon said after learning the result of the mouth swab, the woman and her husband went into quarantine and started taking anti-viral drug oseltamivir (Tamiflu). They were given a clean bill of health after days of medication.

“But days later, the woman developed tightness of the chest and was confined at the hospital," Molon said.

The woman, who died of myocardial infarction or commonly known as a heart attack, was also found to be suffering from a pre-existing medical condition – concomitant hyperthyroidism.

“As per our assessment, we could not possibly relate her death to the virus because she has already gone out of quarantine. Her medication was already finished," Molon said.

“We would like to stop rumors that this is due to A(H1N1) because people are just getting scared," she added.

In Manila, the Department of Health (DOH) said the total number of A(H1N1)-related deaths in the country remains at three pending confirmation of the two latest fatalities.

Aside from the Leyte case, the Muntinlupa City government last week reported the death of 43-year-old public school teacher infected by the virus.

But the DOH could not immediately confirm if the cases in Muntinlupa and Leyte could be categorized as A(H1N1)–related deaths.

Matagal kasi ang consolidation and validation of the veracity of the reports coming to us, kaya hindi namin kaagad masabi. So far, tatlo pa rin ang tally namin," Dr. Arnel Rivera, chief of the DOH Response Division, told GMANews.TV.

(The consolidation and verification process of the reports take a long time so we could not immediately say if it should be connected with the A(H1N1) flu virus.)

Rivera said some “technical problems" in the validation process, carried out by the agency’s epidemiology division, could have led to the delay of the reporting. He said the DOH is carefully verifying reports that they receive to prevent giving wrong information to media.

The DOH has not yet released any update on A(H1N1) since July 9. In its last update, the agency has so far confirmed 2,668 A(H1N1) cases since it started testing mouth swabs last May 1.

Confirmed cases in the Philippines have a 95 percent recovery rate – with 2,543 of the infected patients getting well. The DOH has earlier stopped issuing its regular A(H1N1) updates after shifting from containment to mitigation. - GMANews.TV
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Tags: Leyte