Philippines prepared for second wave of A-H1N1

20:21, October 26, 2009      

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Health Secretary Francisco Duque said on Monday that the Philippines is prepared for the second wave of the A-H1N1 virus, though he stressed that there have been no confirmed reports of a mutated form of the virus in the country.

Duque told Palace reporters in a news briefing that the Philippines is not expecting a new surge in A-H1N1 cases after U.S. President Barrack Obama declared swine flu as a national emergency.

Asked whether the Philippines is ready for a second wave of theA-H1N1 virus, Duque said: "Yes. We have shown our capacity to respond to A-H1N1 since April, before the first case was reported in May....We're confident we have the guidelines, the documents to do review if necessary and to align or adjust these guidelines according to changing realities vis-a-vis the threat of A-H1N1."

He said that so far, "there is no evidence that there is new wave of A-H1N1 at least in the Philippines" which has 5,212 cases and 30 deaths as of October 18, 2009, or a fatality rate of 0.6 percent below the global case fatality ratio of 1.2 percent.

Duque explained that Obama apparently made the declaration "to enable U.S. health care facilities to implement emergency operations plans."

"I think it's really more on formality, and to ensure that the U.S. health system will be able to respond very rapidly in case there is a surge in the number of A-H1N1 cases, not necessarily that caused by a mutated virus. This has to be put into proper perspective," he said.

Asked to comment on reports that he is being eyed as an administration senatorial candidate, Duque said that he has time to give it "serious thought because of the compelling, overwhelming public health issues that we are confronted with."

"It's difficult to even think about it. The important thing is, are we effective in the DOH in responding very quickly and very effectively and helping the President address these overwhelming public health issues, not to mention other equally compelling and overwhelming issues. So I haven't thought about it," he said.

Source: Xinhua
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