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Influenza-like illness up by 37 percent

Health authorities in the region disclosed that influenza-like illness cases increased by 37 percent for the first nine weeks of this year compared to the number of cases that were reported during the same period last year.

Geeny Anne Austria, Nurse V of the DOH-CAR’s regional epidemiology and surveillance unit, said there were some 1,594 influenza-like cases that were reported for the first 9 weeks of this year compared to the 1,163 influenza-like illness cases recorded by the different health facilities around the region for the same period last year.

Baguio City accounted for the highest number of influenza-like illness cases with 376 followed by Benguet with 371 cases, Kalinga – 257 cases, Apayao – 172 cases, Ifugao – 135 cases, Mountain Province – 131 cases, Abra – 100 cases and non-CAR provinces – 52 cases.

Based on the data obtained from the DOH-CAR, there were 423 males who were affected by the influenza-like illness which is equivalent to 50.3 percent of the total number of affected individuals.

Further, the age range of the affected individuals is from 29 days to 93 years old with a prescribed median of 10 years old.

Austria revealed that there were laboratory confirmed influenza-like cases around the region while clustering of cases were also noted in some parts of the Cordillera.

Austria explained that influenza-like illness is an acute viral disease of the respiratory track characterized by fever, headache, myalgia, prostration, coryza, sore throat and severe cough.

According to her, the incubation period of the viral illness is usually 1 to 3 days and patient recovery is usually 2 to 7 days.

The DOH-CAR official claimed that influenza-like illness may be clinically indistinguishable from disease caused by other respiratory viruses, such as common colds, croup, bronchiolitis, viral pneumonia and undifferentiated acute respiratory disease.

Moreover, disease transmission is through airborne spread among crowded populations in enclosed spaces wherein the influenza virus may persist for hours, particularly in the cold and in low humidity and transmission may also occur through direct contract.

Austria added new subtypes may be transmitted globally within 3 to 6 months and severe illness and death during annual influenza epidemics occur primarily among the elderly and those debilitated by chronic cardiac, pulmonary, reinal or metabolic disease, anemia or immunosuppression.

The DOH-CAR report confirmed that 1 case yielded positive for influenza , thus, the need for the public to be vigilant about the illnesses that affect them wherein immediate medical attention must be sought when people suffer from the symptoms of the illness.

She called on persons who continue to have the symptoms of the various illnesses to immediately visit the nearest medical facility to be provided with the appropriate medication and asserted that people should not self-medicate as health experts are in the proper position in the dispensation of medicines.-  Dexter A. See