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A(H1N1) downs six children in Ilocos Sur

Six elementary school students in Candon City in Ilocos Sur have tested positive for Influenza A(H1N1) virus, but health authorities assured the public that it was the same strain that hit the country over a year ago. A report over GMA Network's "24 Oras" on Sunday said the students manifested such symptoms of the virus as high fever, sore throat, fatigue and diarrhea. Five of the students have recovered, while one still has coughs, the report said.

Assistant City Health Officer Joy Villanueva was quoted as saying that other students from the same school are being closely monitored for similar symptoms. The city health office had earlier administered free vaccines against the virus. The Department of Health (DOH) said the new cases of Influenza A(H1N1) should not be a cause of panic, as the virus that the students contracted is the same strain that was recorded in the country a year ago. “If we look at the pattern for this month, it was also the same time last year when cases of A(H1N1) started increasing. As it is, it is flu season already," said Dr. Lyndon Lee Suy, program manager for emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases of the DOH. He, however, cautioned the public that it is still possible for a new strain of the virus to emerge. While the DOH has lifted the automatic suspension of classes in schools where cases of A(H1N1) are recorded, Lee Suy said students of the same schools will have to be closely observed for possible infection. The country recorded its first case of the A(H1N1) in May 2009 in a 10-year-old boy from the US. The first cases of the virus were meanwhile recorded in the US and Mexico in April 2009. As of June last year, about 129 cases of A(H1N1) were recorded in 40 schools in the country. - KBK, GMANews.TV