MANILA - The Department of Health on Friday warned that a more virulent strain of the Influenza A (H1N1) virus could hit the country even as experts search for a vaccine to defeat the virus.
Dr. Eric Tayag, chief of the DOH Epidemiology Center, said A(H1N1) virulence's could be seen in how fast it spread globaly. The disease, which was first detected in Mexico, is the first pandemic of the 21st century and in 41 years.
"There will be a second wave of cases. These will come from Europe and the United States. Since it's flu season, we have to take steps to ensure that it doesn't spread [in the country]," Tayag told ABS-CBN.
The DOH official said a vaccine is still in the testing stage and could be released in January.
He said the DOH continues to make the rounds of hospital nationwide to ensure their preparedness for a possible second wave of A(H1N1) infections.
DOH records show 28 people infected with A(H1N1) have died in the country. Nearly 5,000 have been infected though more than 96 percent of the cases have fully recovered.
Globally, a total of 2,185 people have died from A(H1N1), with some tropical countries reporting "moderate strains" on their healthcare systems amid surges in infections.