Monday, June 1, 2009

Two More Cases of H1N1 in Guatemala and a Summary of All Cases to Date

The Minister of Health,Celso Cerezo, has reported two more cases of influenza A (H1N1), bringing the total number of infected to 14.

The two new cases are a woman living in Petén, but who had recently traveled to Honduras. The other case is a 12 year old child living in Chinautla who was infected by a college student from Capoulliez College. The two are neighbors. The school suspended classes last week due to the infected student.

When asked about the number of schools that were closed because of the flu, Cerezo said that at the moment the only schools closed are Capoulliez College in Zone 11 and El Shaddai in Zone 16. However, it was learned that classes were also suspended at the Colegio Sagrado Corazón de El Naranjo because some students there have become ill.

The health minister added that if at any time it becomes necessary to close the public schools, the Education Minister, Ana de Molina is ready.

The last case which had been announced by the minister was a teenager of 17 who lives in Antigua Guatemala, who showed symptoms of the virus and went to the hospital in Antigua. The case was referred to the Ministry of Health to verify symptomatology and the result was positive. In this case, nobody in the family had traveled abroad.

During a press conference, Cerezo said that more cases are anticipated in the next few days. He also pointed out that cases of influenza normally spike every year during the rainy season.

Meanwhile, in statements given this morning, Vice President Rafael Espada said that influenza A is under control in the country and no state of emergency exists.

Last Friday, four other cases were reported, including an 11 year old girl from Villa Nueva, who had recently traveled to United States, another child under 6 years of age from the Colonia Nueva Monserrat, Mixco, a young man of 18, from Escuintla, who returned from Honduras last week, and a woman of 32, who is now in a hospital in Salamá, Baja Verapaz. She also had returned a few days before from Honduras. All were being administered the antiviral Tamiflu and are under surveillance, said Cerezo.

These cases are in addition to the seven that had been announced weeks ago. Another 50 people are under observation because they have had direct contact with patients who have tested positive.