Duque lauds DLSU Manila for voluntarily suspending classes after student turns positive for A/H1N1

June 3, 2009 1:31 pm 

MANILA, June 3 – Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III Wednesday lauded school authorities of the De La Salle University (DLSU) Manila at Taft Avenue for implementing a self-imposed temporary suspension of classes for 10 days beginning today after an international exchange student tested positive for Influenza A/H1N1.

Duque said this is in consonance with Response Level 3 of the Guidelines on A/H1N1 for schools which states that school authorities should suspend classes after detection of at least one confirmed case and there is no sustained community transmission.

The health chief said the new confirmed case is a 21-year-old female foreign student who arrived in the country last May 12.

According to DLSU officials, classes officially started on May 25 for the first trimester of this school year. The foreign student only reported very mild symptoms on May 29 which came to the attention of school authorities.

Duque said the student consulted a health facility on May 31 where she was examined and tested for the presence of the virus through a throat swab.

The specimen turned positive for A/H1N1 as confirmed today by the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM).

Duque said the DOH is currently investigating and doing contact-tracing to see if there were other exposed individuals related to this new case.

Initial findings revealed that there is very limited exposure of other students to the confirmed case and that both Department of Health (DOH) and school authorities can trace them, he added.

Meanwhile, Duque already met the DLSU's officials to discuss the situation and come up with the next steps to prevent the spread of the virus to other students, faculty and other school staff.

Brother Armin Luistro FSC, DLSU president and chancellor, expressed his full cooperation with the DOH on the ongoing containment measures and said that DLSU will immediately invoke the recommended measures contained in the Response Level System in Schools initially released by the DOH last May 31.

Classes will be suspended at the University starting Thursday (June 4) until June 14 in accordance with the guidelines set by the DOH.

The DLSU has already informed the students and faculty who were in the same class as the confirmed case to do self-monitoring of symptoms at home and to report immediately at designated hotlines if they become ill.

Moreover, Duque also appealed to students and school staff to temporarily avoid going to malls and other crowded areas during the period of class suspension.

As a precautionary measure, although they do not belong to the affected classes, all other students, faculty and personnel of DLSU should consider self-monitoring and avoiding crowded gatherings as well.

Duque thanked the officials of DLSU for keeping their school clinic open for any consultation during the period of class suspension.

Students and faculty are therefore advised to report any symptom at this clinic which will in turn refer the cases to designated DOH referral facilities when necessary.

To date, the total number of confirmed cases of A/H1N1 in the country is now at 22.

Duque said the three previously reported confirmed cases will be discharged today. To date, 14 of the 22 confirmed cases have already been sent home.

Since May 1, 2009, the DOH has monitored a total of 401 cases under observation (CUOs). Of these, 22 are positive A/H1N1 cases, 78 have pending laboratory results, and 301 are negative for A/H1N1 and have been discarded. There are 56 new CUOs today.

In its latest report, the World Health Organization reported 1,900 new cases and 16 deaths, bringing to a total of 17,410 cases and 115 deaths from 62 reporting countries. (PNA)

/FFC/vcs/DOH/utb

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