Philippine Daily Inquirer

A( H1N1) deaths in RP now at 28, says report

- By Jerome Aning

THE NUMBER OF FATALITIES IN THE Philippine­s due to the Influenza A( H1N1) virus has reached 28 as of Sept. 3, the Trade Union Congress of the Philippine­s ( TUCP) said yesterday, citing a report from the Stockholm, Swedenbase­d European Center for Disease Prevention and Control ( ECDC).

In a statement, TUCP secretary general Ernesto Herrera said the ECDC’s daily update on the A( H1N1) pandemic as of Sept. 3 stated that “ 20 new fatal cases have been reported in the Philippine­s since the country last accounted for only eight deaths on July 29.”

The ECDC’s daily updates offer statistics of A( H1N1) confirmed cases and deaths in countries and territorie­s belonging to the European Union and/ or covered by the European Free Trade Agreement. The number of deaths for selected countries, including the Philippine­s and seven other Southeast Asian countries, was included in the report.

There were no figures for cases in nonEuropea­n countries and territorie­s.

Herrera pointed out that the statistics on the non-European countries were based by the ECDC on “ official informatio­n provided by national public health websites, or through other official communicat­ion channels.”

The daily updates may be viewed at the ECDC website ( http:// ecdc. europa. eu/ en/ healthtopi­cs/ Pages/ Pandemic_% 28H1N1% 29_ 2009_ Daily_ Update. aspx). The INQUIRER checked the latest posted daily report, dated Sept. 5, which still placed the number of fatalities in the Philippine­s at 28.

Figure could be higher

The former senator expressed concern that the actual number of A( H1N1) deaths in the country could possibly be higher than reported. He noted that Thailand and Malaysia, which both have superior surveillan­ce of the disease, have already reported dozens of deaths.

The ECDC’s latest daily update listed a total of 262 confirmed A( H1N1) deaths in Southeast Asia, broken down as follows: Thailand, 130; Malaysia, 73; the Philippine­s, 28; Singapore, 17; Indonesia, 10; Vietnam, two; and Brunei and Laos, one each.

Globally, the ECDC said A( H1N1) had already claimed a total of 3,315 lives, according to the ECDC report.

The TUCP has been urging corporatio­ns to adopt “ workplace continuity plans” to assure workers “ the least possible interrupti­on to their jobs and income” as the virus spreadsmor­e aggressive­ly.

Weekly disclosure

Herrera also earlier urged the Department of Health ( DOH) to resume its weekly disclosure of confirmed A( H1N1) cases “ to keep the public in an elevated state of readiness” in dealing with the potentiall­y faster spread of the virus. He cited the need to put “ everyone in a constant high state of alertness, particular­ly in avoidance.”

The DOH recently ceased testing and reporting individual cases of A( H1N1), after the World Health Organizati­on ( WHO) stopped compelling countries to do so.

On Sunday, Herrera urged the DOH to consider routinely divulging to the public “ at least the number of A( H1N1) cases admitted to hospitals and intensive care units, just like what health authoritie­s are doing in other countries.”

Malacañang on Friday ordered the DOH to establish extra laboratori­es in public hospitals “ to effectivel­y manage” A( H1N1) cases. It also instructed the DOH to heighten themonitor­ing of the A( H1N1) virus and improve coordinati­onwith theWHOfor real time exchange of informatio­n on the disease.

The WHO has warned government­s around the world of an imminent surge in A( H1N1) cases. It said countries could see cases double every three to four days for severalmon­ths, and “ it is certain there will be more deaths.”

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