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PIA Press Release

Pangasinan healthmen advise public not to panic on AH1N1

By Danny O Sagun

Dagupan City (4 June) -- "Don't panic."

Thus health authorities advised Pangasinenses as the world faces not only global recession but also the dreaded influenza H1N1 virus which is already affecting several countries including the Philippines where 22 cases were already confirmed.

Dr. Jackson Soriano, provincial health officer, said the best cost-effective prevention measure against any disease like flu, either the seasonal one or the new AH1N1, is thru the maintenance of healthy lifestyle along with personal hygiene, environmental sanitation and regular exercise.

At the KBP Forum this morning at the Philippine Information Agency office, he also said that health facilities in the province including the 14 government hospitals are on alert and ready in case the killer disease already affects the province. So far, there is no case yet of AH1N1 in Pangasinan, he disclosed.

In the same forum, Dr. Leonard Carbonnell, Dagupan city health officer, confirmed Soriano's observation saying the suspected case in the city turned out to be negative. Another guest, Dr. Vivien Villaflor of the Villaflor Hospital, said that the patient was referred to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine in Manila immediately upon showing symptoms of the disease. "Pero negative sya sa AH1N1 infection," he said.

Villafor is co-vice-chairman of the city's Task Force on AH1N1 formed last week by Mayor Alipio Fernandez, Jr. along with the chief of the Region 1 Medical Center. Carbonell chairs the task force which last Tuesday held a health symposium at the city museum.

The doctors likewise urged the public to have vaccine against flu to strengthen their defense against the seasonal flu and other diseases. "Hindi man bakuna yan against H1N1 pero makakatulong sa pagpapalakas ng immune system ng tao laban sa mga sakit," they said. The vaccine costs from P600 to P800.

AH1N1, Carbonnel said, is a re-assortment of viruses from swine, birds and humans. "Itoy bago at wala pang vaccine para dito," he noted, even as he expressed hope that the "mild" virus would not become virulent as it mutates, recalling the Spanish flu that killed some P50 million in 1918, more than those killed during World War I.

For his part, Villaflor asked the public to observe proper manners while sneezing or coughing. "Huwag bumahing gamit ang panyo o kamay kundi sa loob ng yong shirt," he said demonstrating it by covering his mouth and nose with the front part of his shirt. He also said that washing hands frequently with soap and water especially after using the toilet is a must. "Sa Singapore, magpa-fine yong hindi maghugas ng kamay pag galling ng CR," he disclosed.

Soriano said his office will reproduce health advisories on H1N1 in Pangasinan, Iloko and Tagalog for distribution and for posting in conspicuous places to keep the public well-informed about the disease and what they should do.

The doctors also clarified that the virus is transmitted thru exposure to droplets from cough and sneeze of the infected person and not thru eating pork. But they also reminded the public to cook food especially meat thoroughly. (PIA Pangasinan) [top]

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