MANILA, Philippines – A man suspected of having bird flu died in the Philippines earlier this month, the Department of Health (DOH) said Monday, February 22.
In a press conference, DOH Acting Secretary Janette Garin said the patient was a Filipino man working in China who arrived home last February 9.
Garin said the patient started coughing February 10, and went to a doctor February 11. However, the patient’s condition worsened, and he eventually died February 14.
The patient initially was thought to have the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome-Coronavirus (MERS-CoV), but “upon review of his case profile, avian flu was a more proximate consideration.”
“Because of the symptoms exhibited with the fast progression of the illness, plus the history of travel from China coupled with a history of being exposed to live poultry, the patient was considered a possible case of avian flu or bird flu,” Garin said.
Those who had close contact with the patient were given Tamiflu, and experts from Hong Kong “closely monitored and guided” the Filipino experts.
“Initial result revealed pulmonary findings but inconclusive. The body was cremated hence this case has been declared ‘closed’,” she said.
The DOH, however, said there is nothing to worry about, even if indeed the patient had Avian Flu. “His death has ended other possibility of transmission,” Garin added.
Despite this, the DOH advises the public to be on alert, and be informed about the illness, particularly Filipinos abroad.
The DOH said the two main bird flu strains, A(H5N1) and A(H7N9), “continue to pose threats to public health, as these viruses have both the potential to cause serious disease in people and may have the potential to change into a form that is more transmissible among humans.”
“While the Department of Health, the Bureau of Quarantine, the Disease Prevention and Control Bureau, and the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine are actively coordinating public health actions, the responsibility of each person is important,” the acting DOH chief said.
“Effective control of infectious diseases in the Philippines require every person to do their share of responsibility by being cooperative, honest, and mindful,” she said. – Rappler.com
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