(UPDATE) Over 5,000 H1N1 infections in RP


Posted at Oct 26 2009 01:06 PM | Updated as of Oct 27 2009 12:26 AM

MANILA -  The Department of Health (DOH) on Monday said it has recorded a total of 5,212 cases of Influenza A (H1N1) in the country as of October 17, 2009.


Of that number, 30 have resulted in deaths while the rest have recovered from the illness, Health Secretary Francisco Duque said.


Duque said there is no evidence that there will be a second wave of A (H1N1) infections in the Philippines amid the declaration of a national emergency in the United States over the swine flu outbreak.


“This is more of a formality to ensure that the American health system will respond rapidly in case of a surge,” Duque said of the US President Barack Obama declaration that waives certain federal requirements.


“There is nothing to worry about. We know what to do, we know what mitigation and containment measure to carry out,” he added.


The health secretary said the A (H1N1) fatality ratio in the Philippines remains low at 0.6%. He said more people are dying of leptospirosis, dengue, malaria and tuberculosis than swine flu.


He said the Philippine government has allotted P100 million to purchase swine flu vaccines but noted that multinational drug companies have limited supply and manufacturing capacity. He said he expects the first shipment of swine flu vaccines by December this year or January next year.


Lyndon Lee Suy, DOH Emerging and Reemerging Infectious Diseases program director, earlier said the government is monitoring all incoming passengers in the country's airports for passengers who show symptoms of A (H1N1).


Last Saturday US President Barack Obama declared swine flu a "national emergency" as the United States reels from millions of cases of infection and more than 1,000 deaths.


The emergency declaration, which Obama signed late Friday, lets doctors and nurses temporarily bypass certain federal requirements so they can better handle a spike in influenza A(H1N1) patients.


The declaration comes just days after Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius warned that demand was outstripping supply of vaccine for the novel flu strain.


"The 2009 H1N1 pandemic continues to evolve," Obama said in the declaration.


"The rates of illness continue to rise rapidly within many communities across the nation, and the potential exists for the pandemic to overburden health care resources in some localities."


Thomas Frieden, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) chief, earlier said swine flu has infected "many millions" and killed over 1,000 people in the United States -- around a fifth of the world's total -- since the outbreak began six months ago.


At least 4,735 people have died from swine flu infections since April, when an outbreak of the new flu strain was first reported in Mexico before spreading quickly to the United States, according to the World Health Organization. With Agence France-Presse