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PIA Press Release

Zambales PDCC moves to combat A(H1N1) virus

by Allen M. Villa

Iba, Zambales (4 June) -- As the school year starts, the Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council convened on an emergency meeting to allay fears the dreaded A(H1N1) Influenza Virus has affected a resident in a town here.

A text message circulated almost immediately after the Department of Health (DOH) has announced two weeks ago that a Taiwanese mother and her daughter who attended a wedding in this province tested positive for the swine flu.

The message alleged that a certain Jojo Mora, a resident of a beach barangay in a town here, has been afflicted with the A(H1N1) flu after allegedly attending a wedding held at an undisclosed resort in their barangay. The message also indicated that he has yet received any medical attention despite his condition and is asking that the message be forwarded to anyone with a heart to help.

Zambales Integrated Provincial Health Office (IPHO) Chief Dr. Raulin Dadural, M. D., categorically denied such claim and said that as of the latest there is still no local to local contact of the swine flu virus in the province.

"Wala po tayong dapat ikabahala. In behalf of all the municipal health officers of the province, I am announcing that there is yet any possible carrier visiting our hospitals seeking medical attention," Dadural said.

The chief health officer also explained that the dreaded virus is a highly curable and detectable disease, unlike the SARS virus, which he said became a fatal problem before because it is hard to detect and spreads in the air.

"Nalagpasan natin ang SARS. Kampante ako na mas kayang-kaya natin ang Swine Influenza na ito," he added.

This amid pronouncements by Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque III that five new cases of the virus have been confirmed, raising the country's total to 21.

Two of the five confirmed cases were connected to the Taiwanese nationals who tested positive for the virus, a 40-year old female and a 51-year old male.

Sec. Duque said that the two new patients who got sick from contact in Zambales were most likely the last cases, because the 10-day observation period for flu symptoms has lapsed.

The wedding took place last May 17 according to him.

Jojo Mora, the subject of the text message tagged as the alleged victim of the swine flu, has since appeared before a municipal physician for a check up and secured a clean bill of health.

"Sana umayos po yung mga walang magawa sa buhay at itama ang kanilang maling balita. Mahigit sampung araw na po magmula nung mangyari ang diumanong kasalan na iyan at heto pa rin po ako, malakas na malakas," Mora exclaimed.

PDCC members have also come up with an agreement to launch a province-wide campaign on how to best combat the Swine Flu virus and to counter, through information dissemination, irresponsible text messages and reports circulating the province.

Provincial health officers will also visit schools for lectures on the A(H1N1), with reference to the order of Sec. Duque for school administrators to remain vigilant and implement the recommended preventive measures for controlling the spread of Infuenza A(H1N1) among students.

The Department of Education (DepEd) in Zambales is also looking at cases where some school personnel refused to accept enrollees who came from perceived areas where the wedding happened.

A DepEd officer said that these personnel will be meted with appropriate sanctions for their action.

Meanwhile, Zambales Governor Amor Deloso sought the help of all Zambaleņos in countering the effects of the influenza virus.

"Madaling masugpo ang swine flu but the hard part is on how to counter the negative publicity and stigma of having the dreaded virus around which has direct effect on the economy of the province, especially on tourists and investors influx," Gov. Deloso explained.

He said that the province ranks 5th among the top tourist destinations in the country during the first quarter of this year, with Cebu gaining the highest share.

Cebu was followed by Boracay, a popular beach destination in the province of Aklan; Davao City; Camarines Sur; Zambales; and Bohol according to latest reports from the Department of Tourism (DOT). (PIA-Zambales) [top]

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