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    as of 6/18/2009

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    64 cases of virus reported in 24 hrs.


    MANILA - Sixty-four new cases of Influenza A(H1N1) infection were reported yesterday, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 311.
    None of the new cases, however, were reported in Central Visayas.

    Health Secretary Francisco Duque III said 40 of the 64 new cases are women. Duque, according to a GMANews.TV report, said three provinces in Central Luzon have confirmed A(H1N1) cases— Bulacan, with 10 cases; Nueva Ecija, 23 cases; and Pangasinan with two cases.

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    The increase in the number of cases, however, “doesn’t mean things are getting worse” because the infections are mild, said Duque.
    As of yesterday, however, the Department of Health (DOH) 7 still reported 95 cases under observation (CUOs) for H1N1, with 28 pending CUOs.

    Local test

    Also yesterday, DOH 7 said local testing for Influenza A(H1N1) may soon be possible.

    “The Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) came here earlier in the week to look at our lab. And it seems it has passed the WHO (World Health Organization) standards,” said DOH 7 Acting Director Lakshmi Legaspi.

    RITM officials visited the Armed Forces Research Institute for Medical Sciences (Afrims) in the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC) to assess the laboratory.

    With RITM’s approval, Legaspi said they are now just waiting for Duque’s approval before they can start local testing.

    DOH sent two medical technologists to the RITM last June 11 for training. When they return and once Duque gives his approval, local testing will start right way. Legaspi
    said they are expecting it “within the month.”

    The Afrims is being used for dengue virus research. It has the necessary equipment to identify the flu virus.

    “Once we have the lab here, it can save us time. The patients won’t have to wait and they won’t become impatient. They can be treated sooner,” said Legaspi.

    With local testing, results can be available within 24 hours. Under the current setup of sending samples to the RITM for testing, results take two to three days.

    “Testing here would also cut us costs, because for now we have to send everything to Manila pa. We have to pay for the air courier,” said Legaspi.

    Only four confirmed A(H1N1) have been reported in Central Visayas. All four persons have since fully recovered.

    “Maayo ang atong surveillance and monitoring dinhi,” said Legaspi.

    DOH 7 also assured the public that no school has reported any suspected A(H1N1) case.

    Meanwhile, the Police Regional Office (PRO) 7 said it is also keeping a close watch on police who may test positive of the virus.

    PRO 7 Director Lani-o Nerez, however, said that so far, no policemen in the region has shown symptoms of A(H1N1) infection. Policemen help DOH in monitoring key infrastructure like airports. (EPB/GMANews.TV with JTG)