DoH confirms first A(H1N1) case in RP
MANILA, Philippines—(UPDATE) The Department of Health (DoH) confirmed the first case of A(H1N1) influenza in the country Thursday night.
“The DoH confirms today the first case of A(H1N1) in the Philippines. She is a female traveler who arrived in the country on May 18 from the United States, whose throat specimen tested positive based on results from the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine,” Health Secretary Francisco Duque said in a press conference at the World Health Organization Regional office in Manila.
According to Dr. Eric Tayag, director for the National Epidemiology Center, the first case is a 10-year-old female, who also visited Canada when she was in the United States.
Tayag declined to identify the research facility where the girl is being quarantined and treated.
“I talked with the president and from the tone of her voice she is very concerned. In fact, she gave me the go signal to conduct this press conference,” Duque added.
The patient is currently being monitored while her immediate household was advised to follow quarantine and social distancing procedures from the DoH, said Duque.
Despite the index case, Duque said: “There is no community outbreak in the country, measures are being done to prevent transmission including quarantine of immediate household of the first case. The first case is something we have been preparing for and a result of public and private sectors’ effective surveillance system.”
Health Undersecretary Mario Villaverde said the test results came Thursday afternoon from RITM in Muntinlupa City and the patient was immediately given antiviral Oseltamivir. The first case no longer has fever and cough but still has sore throat, said Villaverde.
Tayag said specimens from the index case will be sent to a WHO collaborating center in Melbourne as routine procedure for all specimens that will test positive for the novel A(H1N1).
“The child developed the symptoms a day after arrival, so this is also a call for vigilance on the part of the public that people in the country and incoming travelers from abroad, especially from infected areas, to submit themselves to quarantine screening and continuous monitoring of health, especially body temperature for 10 days, and to report to the DoH any flu-like symptoms,” said Villaverde.
Villaverde reiterated that the public should observe proper hygiene, strengthen resistance and do social distancing—avoid going to crowded areas if the need is not urgent.
At this point of one single confirmed case, Vilaverde said, there is no need to postpone the opening of schools in June.