179 confirmed swine flu cases in Panama
PANAMA. Panamanian Health authorities recently reported 13 new cases of the Influenza A H1N1 virus, for a total of 179 confirmed cases,...
PANAMA. Panamanian Health authorities recently reported 13 new cases of the Influenza A H1N1 virus, for a total of 179 confirmed cases, none of which have caused a death.
The Health Ministry informed that of the 179 cases, 91 are male and 88 female. 62 percent of confirmed cases (112 patients) are of children younger than 15, while 25 percent (45 cases) are aged between 20 – 49.
Most of the cases are in Panama City (107), while the second highest concentration is in the district of San Miguelito (38).
Of the total confirmed cases, 77 percent (138) are out of danger and have returned to their daily lives. Until Friday, there were no patients hospitalized and 312 suspected cases had been discarded as false alarms.
The Ministry highlighted that the behavior of the influenza A/H1N1 in Panama remains mild, recommending to tone down the strategies previously implemented to prevent and control the disease.
Among the measures implemented by the inter-departmental commission established to respond to the swine flu outbreak that are now lifted, are restrictions on massive events.
The use of surgical masks at the Tocumen International Airport is also now only recommended for those with respiratory problems.
However, authorities are still keeping anyone inflicted with the virus isolated in their homes. Everyone entering Panama through any of its ports will still have to provide a sworn declaration, and health personnel will continue to roam the ports.
The World Health Organization (WHO) announced this week it is on the brink of raising the swine flu alert to level 6 and declare a full scale Pandemic. This announcement comes right before the winter flu season begins to strike the countries in the Southern Hemisphere.
By definition, a pandemic is determined by the geographic spread of a new flu virus, not how many people fall seriously ill.
Yet after being under pressure to make severity part of the criteria, the WHO announced on Friday that future changes would reflect how severe an outbreak was as well as how widespread.
Most of the 21,940 cases reported worldwide so far have been mild. Many of the deaths occurred in Mexico in the early days of the outbreak. Since then death toll has slowly but steadily risen.
Chile became the first South American country to report a death from swine flu.