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PIA Press Release
2009/06/23

DOH reports 35 more recovered A(H1N1) patients sent home

Manila (23 June) -- Health Secretary Francisco Duque III announced on Monday that 35 A(H1N1) patients have fully recovered from the said virus bringing the total number of recovered patients to 374. This number constitutes 84% of the total cases.

Duque also reported that there are17 more cases recorded on Monday. These new cases bring the total number of confirmed cases to 445. These 17 new cases involved 8 meles and 9 females with age ranging from 11 to 58 years old, with 19 as median age.

Duque also noted that 15 of the new cases are Filipinos and and 2 areforeigners.

Meanwhile, Duque also reported the death of a 49-year old female who is known to have a pre-existing chronic heart disease was also found to be positive for A (H1N1). He said that the patient presented with flu-like symptoms starting on June 17 consisting of dry cough, fever and chills and difficulty of breathing just before death on June 19.

Duque said that post-autopsy findings disclosed that the death was caused by congestive heart failure secondary to acute myocardial infarction aggravated by severe pneumonia either bacterial, viral or both. He said a throat-swab revealed that she was positive for A (H1N1).

"Given the available information, we cannot conclude that the death is due to A (H1N1). But in other countries which have reported A (H1N1) deaths, majority have pre-existing medical conditions. We condole with the family of the patient as we mourn her untimely death," Duque said.

Because of this first reported case of death in a patient with an incidental finding of A (H1N1) in the country, Duque said that the Department of Health will be more aggressive in targeting segments of patients with a high vulnerability to fatal flu complications saying that they should be the ones receiving the most care and attention by healthcare professionals.

"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. These are patients with uncontrolled diabetes, frank cardiovascular disease, COPD, organ transplant recipients, those who are immunocompromised, those with chronic liver and kidney disease, people suffering from other infections like HIV/AIDs and TB, pregnant women and the very young and the elderly," Duque clarified.

At present, the DOH is revising the interim guidelines for managing and treating A (H1N1) cases to ensure that vulnerable populations are prioritized and receive immediately the appropriate modicum of care. This is in accordance with the Pandemic Alert Level 6 declaration of the World Health Organization which recommends to its member states to focus on managing cases, especially severe ones, rather than containment to prevent the spread of the virus.

"We would like to reemphasize that, globally and locally, the overwhelming majority of cases only experience mild symptoms and, eventually, make a rapid and full recovery, often even without any form of medical intervention," Duque stressed.

"It is prudent for parents to seek professional care for children with rapid breathing, excessive drowsiness or dehydration. In adults, chest pain, prolonged fever or labored breathing should prompt warnings to see a doctor," Duque reminded the public.

"We need to make sure that our resources are efficiently used and that they will give us the best outcomes by targeting people who are at risk for developing complications," Duque said.

Meanwhile, Duque advised the public to continue heeding the recommendations of the DOH on proper handwashing, cough etiquette, and other hygiene practices.

"The best defense against A (H1N1) and other diseases is to boost your immune system. Most people can fight off this virus without special medications or hospitalization. You can stay at home and take supportive care like plenty of fluids, vitamins and bed rest," Duque stressed. (PIA Bradley de Leon) [top]

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