Swine Flu Virus update

Latest: As of July 9, 2009, the DOH has confirmed 2,668 cases and 3 deaths in the Philippines, with the affected group aged between 5 months and 71 years old, the median being 17 years old.

Department of Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III reiterates the boosting of one's immune system is still the best defense against the virus. With proper diet, exercise, vitamins and vaccinations, one can help your body defend against the virus and other illnesses especially during this time of the year. The seasonal flu is also something one should not take lightly as it can dramatically bring down one's resistance to viruses and other illnesses.

"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," Duque clarified.

Source: http://www.doh.gov.ph

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The World Health Organization (WHO) raised the pandemic alert to Level 6. This means that outbreaks has reached to a community level "in at least one other country in a different WHO region in addition to the criteria defined in Phase 5. Designation of this phase will indicate that a global pandemic is under way."

As defined by the WHO, pandemic alert Phase 5 "is characterized by human-to-human spread of the virus into at least two countries in one WHO region. While most countries will not be affected at this stage, the declaration of Phase 5 is a strong signal that a pandemic is imminent and that the time to finalize the organization, communication, and implementation of the planned mitigation measures is short."

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The Philippines confirmed its second case of swine flu. A 50-year-old woman from Chicago tested positive for the A(H1N1) virus, Health Secretary Francisco Duque III announced in a news conference.

The woman arrived from the United States Wednesday and went to a hospital the next day, complaining of a headache and mild fever.The woman was treated with the antiviral drug Tamiflu and was rapidly recovering in a hospital, Duque said.

The passengers who came in contact with during her flight to Manila were being traced. Despite this new swine flu case, there has been no reported local outbreak in the country, the DOH Secretary disclosed.

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Swine Flu has arrived in the Philippines. The first case has been confirmed by the Department of Health (DOH) after a 10-year-old Filipino girl who had traveled to the United States and Canada was found positive for Influenza A(H1N1) virus.

The girl arrived in the Philippines last May 18, and eventually developed fever, cough, and sore throat the following day. She is now confined in an "undisclosed health facility."

DOH Secretary Francisco Duque III said that "the patient was started on anti-viral and given supportive care. The patient no longer has fever and cough, but she still has sore throat." The family and those who had close contact with the have been advised to go on quarantine. "We advise the public not to panic. There is no community level outbreak. Measures are being implemented to prevent transmission," Secretary Duque said. (Source)

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The World Health Organization (WHO) raised the worldwide pandemic alert level to Phase 5 on April 29, 2009. Earlier on April 27, 2009, the Department of Health (DOH), in its official statement, clarified that there are no reports yet of swine flu among humans in the Philippines.

According to the WHO, the declaration of Phase 5 is "a strong signal that a pandemic is imminent and that the time to finalize the organization, communication, and implementation of the planned mitigation measures is short."

Image courtesy of www.doh.gov.ph
DOH on swine flu virusExperts describe H1N1 swine flu virus as having an unusual combination of genetic material from pigs, birds and humans which have reassorted and caused the development of the current human H1N1 swine influenza virus. This is the first time that such a virus has been isolated with evidence of human-to-human transmission. As of the time of writing, there is no available vaccine for this virus.

Here's what the DOH is currently implementing on a nationwide scale:
  • Stepped up surveillance and biosecurity measures in all international and local airports to prevent the entry of the virus.
  • The Bureau of Quarantine has already instituted precautionary measures in major ports and possible entry points of the virus in the country.
  • Travelers will be required to fill up a Health Declaration Checklist to screen for potential signs and symptoms and possible exposure to the virus.
  • A Health Alert Notice (HAN) on flu-like illness or Swine Influenza Virus (SIV) will also be distributed to all arriving travelers especially from the U.S. and Mexico.
  • All DOH Regional Health Offices and local government units have been requested to look out for influenza outbreaks, influenza-like illness (ILI) and /or atypical pneumonia in their areas of jurisdiction.
  • DOH Referral Hospitals for Emerging Infectious Diseases (EID) have been primed to ready their facilities to receive patients confirmed or suspected to have been infected with the novel swine flu virus.
As a precaution, the DOH recommends the following:
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
  • Wash hands regularly with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
  • Avoid close contact with sick people.
  • If sick, self-monitor and stay home from work or school and limit contact with others.
  • Consult your doctor immediately should signs and symptoms of flu persist.
DOH hotlines: 7111001 / 7111002

General symptoms of Swine flu:
  • Fever with or without chills.
  • Sore throat.
  • Respiratory symptoms, usually a cough or less frequently as dyspnea (difficulty breathing) or pneumonia.
  • Fatigue and lethargy
  • Myalgia (general body aches)
  • Headaches
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomitting
Update 5/6/09:
  • Three persons, reportedly coming from Hong Kong and Mexico, are being quarantined in Cebu City, Philippines, for possible Swine Flu infection.
Keep visiting this blog for more A (H1N1) Swine Flu Virus updates.