15 confirmed cases of A/H1N1
PANAMA. The Ministry of Health has confirmed that there are now 15 cases of the A/H1N1 flu in Panama and that 11 patients are quarantin...
PANAMA. The Ministry of Health has confirmed that there are now 15 cases of the A/H1N1 flu in Panama and that 11 patients are quarantined in their houses and four have been hospitalized.
There are another 10 suspected ones awaiting confirmation from the Gorgas Institute.
The majority of the cases involved people between 20 and 39 years old, but six children of 8 and 14 years have also contracted the virus.
The Ministry of Health, Rosario Turner said at the moment there are no plans to close schools, but she has been in contact with the Minister of Education, Salvador Rodriguez alerting him of the cases so he can start the decontamination process and introduce other measures such as constant hands washing to avoid the spread of the disease.
The Health Minister said that it is important for parents, teachers and professors to be on the alert to detect people with respiratory symptoms, so they can stay at home and seek medical attention.
The schools which the sick children attend will be closed for thorough cleaning and decontamination. The Ministry of Health did not disclose the schools names.
Turner said that 11 cases have been found in the Panama Metro region, two in Panama West, one in San Miguelito and 1 in the Cocle province.
All the patients have been investigated and have received treatment and their condition is stable.
The Health Minister added that thanks to the epidemic prevention measures, 10 cases which were related to the first one, were detected promptly.
The first case was a Panamanian man coming from the United States, the second was a child and the third was a woman who was related to the first one.
She added that currently it is impossible to foresee the way the A/H1N1 flu is going to spread in the future and the only thing the population can do is to follow the recommendations of the Ministry of Health such as hand washing, avoiding contact with sick people, covering your mouth when coughing and sneezing, avoiding kisses, handshakes and crowded places.
Last weekend the Ministry of Health launched a vaccination campaign against the flu as part of a program to prevent the spread of the A/H1N1 flu, and reduce its effects in the event of contamination.
It is expected that 129,000 children under the age of five and 192,000 people over 60 will be vaccinated. The vaccines are completely free and medical personnel will be applying them in crowded places such as shopping centers.
Last week the Gorgas Institute received test kits from the Atlanta Center for Disease control, to test up to 1,000 people.
Panama has become the Central American country with the most confirmed cases of A/H1N1 flu. Costa Rica registered nine with one fatality; Guatemala three and El Salvador one, while Honduras and Nicaragua have not reported any.
According to the World Health Organization the A/H1N1 virus has infected 4,379 people in 29 different countries and is not showing signs of slowing down.