DOH-RO1 on full alert to combat AH1N1 virus
By Miriam P. Aquino
San Fernando City, La Union (23 June) -- Despite the increasing number of cases globally of the so-called AH1N1 virus, the Department of Health - Center for Health Development (DOH-CHD) in the Region says that there is not much to worry about the health situation in Region I as they are on full alert to combat the said virus and has prepared all the agencies concerned on the proper measures to prevent the spread of the virus in the region.
According to Dra. Julia Racquel R. Magalong, Regional Health Emergency Management Service Coordinator, DOH-CHD Regional Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit, as of June 22, there were 22 cases which are under observation.
Starting from May to June 8, there was 1 positive case (a balikbayan) in the region, Magalong disclosed. She said that upon testing that the patient was indeed infected with the virus, immediately they went to the house and gave him tamiflu for first aid before performing the necessary lab tests required.
She said that their group coordinated with the mayor, municipal health worker, and the attending physician with regards to the quarantine of the patient as well as putting to test and monitoring all the family and household members and all those who happen to have close contact with the infected person.
After a 10-day monitoring, Magalong said that not one of these members showed signs of possible infection, reason for them to declare that they are safe.
The patient, who was also very cooperative has fully recovered and after getting clearance from DOH in Manila, already flew to his country of origin, Magalong added.
On the first week of June, 9 suspects were found negative of the said infection and were sent home. And as of last weekend, there were others who have pending laboratory results of whose blood specimen were already sent to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM).
As part of the mitigating measures, Magalong said that both their regional and provincial personnel are working 24/7 investigating on suspected cases. Three DOH hospitals - Ilocos Training and Regional Medical Center in La Union, the Region 1 Medical Center in Pangasinan, and the Mariano Marcos Hospital in Ilocos Norte are equipped to undergo series of lab tests and monitoring for suspected AH1N1 patients.
On the part of the protection of students, faculty, and non-teaching personnel, the Regional Department of Education (DepEd) and Commission on Higher Education (CHED) have instituted their own measures to ensure safe and healthy place for all their enrolled pupils and students.
Series of orientations have also been made for provincial school supervisors, here in La Union and in Ilocos Sur. For next week, the provinces of Pangasinan and Ilocos Norte will be catered, Dr. Magalong said.
Even the Rural Health Units and the Municipal Health Offices have been oriented and at the same time alerted to check on the schools within their area of jurisdiction. (PIA RO-LU) [top]