Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Flu Scare

The World Health Organization declared a pandemic alert due to the increasing number of cases of Influenza A(H1N1) virus. Here in the Philippines, there are about ninety six confirmed cases of the virus in just four weeks after the first positive case last May 6, 2009. The number is alarming that Philippines is now the country in Asia with the highest cases of A(H1N1).
I have been covering the story here in Davao at the height of the spread in Mexico. I always stand at the back of the quarantine doctor in Davao International Airport as we watch the thermal scanner. Luckily, Davao is still free from the virus. Although there were suspected cases, all patients were sent home after being diagnosed of common coughs and colds.
Although Davao is still safe, i just noticed few inconsistency over the "tight" monitoring of the DOH. After passing through thermal scanner, passengers are declared safe if their temperature do not exceed thirty six degrees celsius. Based on studies, a person exposed to virus may not automatically be ill. There is a ten days incubation period before the virus becomes active inside the patient.
What if a passenger is contaminated but the virus is still dormant. How will the DOH monitor these passengers when they just get their names and addresses and provide them flyers and leaflets for guidance. How will the so called "contact tracing" become effective if even just one of the patient vissitted a thickly populated area like mall before the symptoms appear. Becuase of human rights consideration, the government cannot force anyine to go on self isolation. Unless a affective antibiotic designed to elliminate A(H1N1) virus, the threat is still rising.

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