RITM capable to respond to outbreak of emerging diseases

June 26, 2012 10:14 pm 

By Modesto Antonio G. Ibarra

MANILA, June 26 – The Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) has the capacity to respond to outbreaks or pandemic due to emerging diseases, including the Ebola, human influenza A(H1N1) virus and the avian influenza A(H5N1) virus.

RITM director Dr. Remigio Olveda made the statement during a weekly Health Forum at Annabel's Restaurant in Tomas Morato, Quezon City.

According to Olveda, RITM is equipped with the facilities that could detect, survey, characterize and monitor drug resistance of influenza virus infection in the Philippines.

He said RITM has significant facility, the negative pressure isolation room, which prevents the physician, nurse or any attendant to the viral patient to be contaminated by the virus while attending to the latter.

RITM is a government institution under the supervision and operation of the Department of Health (DOH).

He also noted the continuing threat of influenza, particularly avian influenza, as the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed a total of 168 cases in Egypt, of which 60 have been fatal.

He said the latest of which is the case of a four year-old girl confirmed with avian influenza notified to WHO by the Ministry of Health and Population of Egypt.

The overall goal of the institution is to establish an effective and timely detection of emerging influenza pandemic.

For his part, Dr. Edsel Maurice T. Salvana of the Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology, National Institutes of Health, University of the Philippines, Manila, said influenza was an emerging infection and through re-assortment, it has the potential to become pandemic like the 2009 A(H1N1).

Salvana said that influenza has eight variable levels which may occur in any year, hence the public should not be complacent and that people must always be ready for an unexpected occurrence of the influenza virus. (PNA) RMA/FFC/magi

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