May 22, 2009

Don't panic!

DoH confirms first A(H1N1) case in RP

By Anna Valmero
First Posted 22:26:00 05/21/2009

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. (Click here for the rest.)

AS a journalist, that's what I want to tell you. But personally, I'm really scared that the Influenza A virus has finally landed in Manila and has infected a young child who just arrived from the States and Canada. This is not good. Let's just pray that it won't spread nationwide.

As Sec. Duque says, this calls for vigilance and honesty. Pls. start thinking of the welfare of your fellow citizens. If you came from countries where Influenza A was prevalent, or have been in contact w/ people who came from those places, and you suddenly feel flu-ish, pls. pls. pls. have yourself checked immediately. In this situation, it's better to be a hypochondriac and err on the side of safety, to make sure you don't infect others.

In the meantime, bring out those masks and hand sanitizers. Try as much as possible to stay away from crowded places. A virus w/ such a virulent strain can easily spread. So pls. be careful.

Here is a poster guide from the World Health Organization on how to wash our hands. The length of time one washes hands should be the time it takes to sing two "Happy Birthday" songs. This is no joke. Spread the word: Clean hands can save your life.

(Click to enlarge.)

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