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PIA Press Release

Experts shed light on A/H1N1 in health forum

By Venus H. Sarmiento

Dagupan City (3 June) -- Health officials, workers and various stakeholders gathered together yesterday to know the latest information about the dreaded Influenza A/H1H1 virus that is now affecting the country.

City Health Officer Leonard Carbonell said that influenza is usually a respiratory infection and can be transmitted through coughing, sneezing and talking. Influenza A on the other hand, he explained, is caused by a new virus that resulted from the reassortment of viruses from pigs, humans and birds.

Carbonell explained that there is no vaccine yet to protect humans from the virus but there are existing and recommended medicines that are effective in treating the Influenza A virus. He also recommended the seasonal influenza vaccine to boost resistance against other forms of illnesses.

In his presentation, the latest global statistics reveal that there are now 62 countries affected by the virus and 17,410 are confirmed cases. Of this number 115 have died.

In the western Pacific Region, eight countries are now affected including the Philippines. There are 607 confirmed cases but no deaths yet. In the country, there are 21 confirmed cases but with zero death. Carbonell said, it has not yet reached Pangasinan, contrary to rumors.

Another expert who spoke in the forum, Dr. Jennifer Ann Wi, a member of the technical working group on Inluenza of the Department of Health, said the number of AH1N1 cases is increasing by thousands daily. She said although the mortality rate of AH1H1 -0.6% -is quite low, the virus proved to be fatal to humans.

Wi said proper washing of hands and coughing etiquettes are the best prevention measuresfor the virus. It is also good to use alcohol-based hand sanitizers, she added.

When coughing, Wi said DOH recommends covering the mouth and nose and when sneezing, it is best to cover the mouth using the inside shirt.

Wi said It is also best to increase the body's resistance by having at least eight hours of sleep, being physically active, managing stress, drinking plenty of fluids and eating nutritious foods.

City Manager Alvin Fernandez, in his message said that more than the fear for the virus, families must think of where to get food and what to eat everyday. A sick member of the family could cause more problems and panic, he said.

Fernandez urged the participants to follow the expert's advice and start cleanliness in homes. (PIA-Pangasinan) [top]

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