(UPDATE 4) First case of A(H1N1) in RP confirmed

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 21 2009 10:25 PM | Updated as of May 22 2009 08:56 AM

Health Secretary Francisco Duque on Thursday evening announced the first case of influenza A (H1N1) in the Philippines.

Duque, who is currently at the World Health Organization (WHO) headquarters in Geneva, said in a teleconference that a Filipina patient who came from a trip abroad last May 18 tested positive for the A (H1N1) virus.

"The Department of Health is officially announcing this evening the first confirmed case of influenza A(H1N1) in the Philippines," Duque said.

"I can confirm a woman is now in quarantine and has been diagnosed with the A(H1N1) virus," Duque said.

She came from a trip to the United States and Canada with her parents, Duque said. Symptoms were not detected on her upon her arrival.

The ten-year-old girl, who is not yet identified, showed symptoms - fever, cough, and sore throat - a day after her arrival in the country and was rushed to a hospital.

He said that the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) got hold of tissue samples from the patient last May 20, and confirmed Thursday that she tested positive for the virus.

The patient is currently being treated at an undisclosed medical facility, Duque said, and is now only suffering from a sore throat.

Arroyo 'concerned'

The DOH is also not disclosing the airport where the patient arrived, and from what province, city or region the patient came from.

DOH officials have also said that President Arroyo is "very concerned" by this development.

Duque also said that contact tracing is already ongoing. The patient's family has been informed and has been asked to perform self-monitoring and quarantine.

"The woman returned with her family who are also being monitored by health authorities," he added.

Duque however clarified that there is no A (H1N1) outbreak in the country and that the government is doing everything to prevent it.

Seven other people are under observation at different Philippine hospitals but laboratory tests have not been completed, the official said.

"We reiterate to the public that the government is on top of the situation and everyone is advised to be vigilant," Duque said.

Some 49 people who had been put under observation in government and private hospitals since May 1 after showing symptoms of the virus have since been discharged, health officials said. With reports from Joey Villarama, ABS-CBN News, dzMM, and the Agence France-Presse