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DOH Updates on H1N1 Monitoring

15 May 209 - Today, the Department of Health reported five new cases under observation. Four were negative for influenza A (H1N1), while the laboratory result for one case is still pending. The total number of cases that the DOH monitored since May 1 to May 14 is now 54. Forty-five of these cases were reported from the National Capital Region, six from Region VII, and one case each for Regions IV-A, V and X.

The reported cases had history of travel to the following countries with confirmed influenza A (H1N1) cases: Australia, Canada, China (Mainland), Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom and the United States of America.

As of May 14, the World Health Organization has reported no new countries with confirmed cases of A (H1N1). The total number of confirmed influenza A (H1N1) cases reported in 33 countries is now 6,497. This is a 13% increase compared to the number reported in the previous day (5,728). The most number of new confirmed cases (387/769) was from Mexico. No new deaths were reported; the total number of deaths is still 61.

While the Philippines is still free from Influenza A (H1N1), the DOH reiterates that they will continue to intensify its surveillance in ports, airports and the community so that cases of influenza A (H1N1) are detected early and appropriate control measures implemented immediately.

Interim Guidelines No. 4

On Public Gatherings in Response to Influenza A (H1N1) Virus Threat

Given the current information on the status of influenza A (H1N1) in the country, the Department of Health (DOH) issues the following interim guidelines on "Public Gatherings in Response to Influenza A (H1N1) Virus Threat" for the guidance of event organizers, local officials, health care providers and the general public.


Public Gathering refers to a congregation or grouping of several people in an area or activity. Examples of a gathering are social and cultural celebrations like fiestas, conferences, concerts, sports event, and other comparable activities, both indoor and outdoor, where crowding of people may occur.

Public gatherings are usually festive and personal contact like handshaking, hugging and kissing likely occur, thereby increasing the risk for spread of Influenza A (H1N1) virus.

For All Persons Attending a Public Gathering:

 Practice proper cough manners and cover mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing and wash hands after doing so

 Maintain personal hygiene, especially regular hand washing with soap and water or sanitizer

 At the first signs and symptoms of flu-like illness, defer from attending a public gathering and seek medical consultation

 Persons who are at high risk of complications from Influenza A (H1N1) infection should avoid exposure to this virus by reconsidering attendance to public gatherings. Persons at high risk are:

o Persons with certain chronic medical conditions and the immuno-compromised

o Children less than 5 years and persons 60 or older

o Pregnant women

For Event Organizers or Hosts:

 Determine the time required to achieve the purpose of the public gathering and avoid extending the period of time that people are gathered as crowds

 Provide alternative options and venues for participation. In general, open spaces are preferable over indoor venues.

 Make adequately available at the event the following basic facilities and services:

o Hand washing facilities with soap and running water or hand sanitizers

o Garbage bins for proper disposal of tissues, disposable cups and other items

o On-site medical assessment team that is adequately equipped to screen persons developing flu-like illness

 Ensure that frequently touched objects and surfaces had been adequately disinfected, e.g. door knobs, tabletops, chairs, toilets, etc.

 Deliver key educational messages about measures attendees can take to help reduce the spread of the Influenza A (H1N1) virus infection

For the Local Officials, Health Officers and other officials with jurisdiction over the Public Gathering:

 Reinforce guidelines on public gatherings for event organizers and hosts by issuing corresponding memorandum or ordinances

 Provide key educational messages to event organizers and the public on the prevention and control of influenza A (H1N1) virus, such as: local situation with regards influenza A (H1N1), health alerts and advisories derived from newspapers and official websites, etc.

 Complement the preparations made by event organizers in the provision of adequate facilities and services for the public gathering

 Plan for the provision of on-site medical assistance for possible medical emergencies

 Report any incidence of flu-like illness manifesting or found in community or area where public gatherings are planned

In the event that a suspected case of Influenza A (H1N1) virus infection is reported in the scheduled public gathering, the DOH is authorized to investigate, make recommendations and assist the community to contain the infection, as specified in Republic Act No. 9271, Quarantine Act of 2004, "An Act Strengthening the Regulatory Capacity of the Department of Health in Quarantine and International Health Surveillance":

 Section 1.4.b provides for the "apprehension, detention or surveillance for the purpose of preventing the introduction, transmission or spread of such public health emergencies of international concern as may be specified in Department Orders by the Secretary of Health upon the recommendation of the international health surveillance."

Implementing Rules and Regulations of "Quarantine Act of 2004", pursuant to RA 9271 further specifies under Section 53.2:

 In the event of an outbreak of public health emergency of international concern in a community, the Director of the Bureau shall recommend to the Secretary of Health the following measures:

o "apprehension, detention / isolation or surveillance of suspect / cases;

o place under active or passive surveillance, individuals who have been exposed to the infection considered as dangerous contact; and

o declare an area or community "under quarantine" where the public health emergency occurs."

Issued by the DOH Emergency Management Task Force for the Pandemic Response to Influenza A (H1N1)


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