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AMID FLU INFECTIONS DoH to Bulacan schools: Don’t put off classes

Posted on: June 15, 2009

AMID FLU INFECTIONS
DoH to Bulacan schools: Don’t put off classes

By Anna Valmero
INQUIRER.net
First Posted 14:57:00 06/15/2009

Filed Under: Swine Flu, Epidemic and Plague, Health, Diseases, Education

MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Health on Monday said there’s no need to further postpone the opening of classes Bulacan even as eight students in the province were confirmed to have contracted the influenza A(H1N1) virus.

“There is no need to postpone classes after we have studied that the virus is mild and has similar symptoms to seasonal flu as shown by the index cases in the country or those infected by the visiting Taiwanese nationals,” said Health Secretary Francisco Duque.

“It had been shown some cases have rapid recovery even without the Tamiflu treatment,” he said.

Duque reported Monday eight students at Candelaria High School, in Bulacan town of Bulacan province tested positive for the virus.

These new infections brought to a total of 155 confirmed cases of swine flu. No deaths have been reported so far.

Duque said the Bulacan school need not suspend classes and those ill from the virus but with mild symptoms could seek home care as the health department shifts from containment to mitigation strategy.

“There is a possibility we will change the response system for schools–we are observing if the virus will mutate into a more lethal strain and if it does, we will recommend a new response level system and policy guidelines as the virus continues to evolve,” he said.

Previously, the DoH ordered school officials to suspend classes for 10 days if any of their students or personnel tested positive for the virus.

But with the change in strategy, health officials are now upscaling capacity to treat the sick while downscaling containment efforts directed to prevent the spread of the virus, Duque said.

The DoH is implementing mitigation strategy in areas where there is community outbreak for the H1N1 virus such as the farming village of Hilera in Jaen, a town in Nueva Ecija province with 12 confirmed cases, Duque said, adding that areas without any confirmed case, such as Mindanao, should observe containment measures.

On Monday, 2.6 million college students are expected to flock to 1,726 state universities and private colleges nationwide.

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