A (H1N1) cases in RP rising

THRITY-SIX new cases of Influenza A (H1N1) or swine flu virus were recorded Sunday, bringing to 147 the total cases of infected individuals in the Philippines.

Three of the 36 new cases, according to the Department of Health (DOH), were foreigners.

Health Secretary Francisco Duque said they are shifting to a policy of mitigation in response to the decision of the World Health Organization (WHO) to raise the Pandemic Alert Level 5 to 6.

“A policy of mitigation means that the DOH will shift focus on preparing households and health facilities to respond to the challenge posed by H1N1 in anticipation of more confirmed cases,” Duque said.

“This means that we have to make sure that our health system is equipped to treat and manage particularly severe cases, which may require more intensive care in our hospitals and that mild cases are appropriately treated at home,” he added.

Under Pandemic Alert Level 6, the WHO has alerted all countries where the A (H1N1) virus is widespread.

It also advised all its member states to focus on the appropriate management of patients, particularly those at high risk for developing flu complications and a decreased emphasis on stopping the spread of the virus.

The mitigation approach also outlines key management imperatives in the areas of activating the command system, surveillance, health facility response, public health interventions, and risk communication strategies.

“I want to make it clear that mitigation will be done in phases and that it will not be applied across the nation completely and instantaneously. This will depend on the presence of community-wide transmission and whether there is a high or low volume of cases in a community. Therefore, in areas where there are few cases and we can still contain the spread of H1N1, mitigation strategies generally will not apply,” Duque said. (MSN/Sunnex)

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