Philippines' confirmed A(H1N1) cases rise to 111

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 13 2009 03:03 PM | Updated as of Jun 13 2009 11:45 PM

Nineteen more people have been infected with influenza A(H1N1) virus, bringing to 111 the total number of confirmed cases in the Philippines, the Department of Health (DOH) said Saturday.

The DOH said 11 of the new cases are males and eight are female. A total of 38 infected patients have been discharged, it added.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque had admitted that the DOH would not be able to contain the virus anymore.

Duque said that the government has shifted from containment to mitigation strategy.

“With mitigation, the government will be recommending to affected areas with community level transmission to now focus on taking care of the sick, providing guidance for people to protect themselves and their families and monitoring the outbreak,” the health secretary said.

The DOH has maintained that there is still no “community-level transmission” of the virus in the country.

At least four tertiary level schools --  De la Salle University, Colleged of St. Benilde, Far Eastern University-East Asia College, and St. Andrew’s School – have students infected with the new virus.

The Ateneo High School has three confirmed cases and the Helera Elementary School in Nueva Ecija has one.

Classes at the Doña Candelaria Meneses Duque High School in Bulacan town, Bulacan province have been suspended after several students exhibited flu-like symptoms.

The flu-like illness started from one section of the school's second year level. The illness reportedly spread to other year levels, prompting the school's management to call the DOH's attention.

Throat swab samples taken from the students have been brought to the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine office in Alabang, Muntinlupa City. The entire school has been "disinfected."

21st centry flu pandemic

The World Health Organization has declared the first flu pandemic of the 21st century Thursday, urging countries to shore up defenses against the virus which is "not stoppable" but has proved mainly mild so far.

The United Nations agency raised its pandemic flu alert to phase 6 on a six-point scale, indicating the first influenza pandemic since 1968 is under way.

"This is a very important and challenging day for all of us. It is important because we will be raising our pandemic alert level to level 6," WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan told reporters on a teleconference.

"At this time, the global assessment is that we are seeing a moderate pandemic."

Acting on the recommendation of flu experts, the WHO reiterated its advice to its 193 member countries not to close borders or impose travel restrictions to halt the movement of people, goods and services.

The move to phase 6 reflects the fact that the disease, widely known as swine flu, was spreading geographically, but does not indicate how virulent it is.