BAGUIO CITY – Influenza like illnesses in the Cordillera slightly decreased by seven percent for the first six months of this year compared to the same period last year after the health department recorded some four thousand six cases this year compared to the four thousand three hundred twenty seven cases during the same reckoning period last year.
However, Geeny Anne I. Austria, Nurse V of the Cordillera office of the Department of Health (DOH-CAR) regional epidemiology and surveillance unit, said that there were no deaths due to influenza like illness during the reckoning periods this year and last year considering that health authorities were able to provide the appropriate treatment to those who sought immediate medical advise from the nearest health facility in their places.
Based on the data obtained from the RESU, the influenza like cases came from Benguet with 1,047 which is equivalent to 26.1 percent of the total recorded cases followed by Baguio City with 958 cases or 23.9 percent, Kalinga – 635 cases or 15.8 percent, Ifugao – 434 cases or 10.8 percent, Apayao – 330 cases or 8.2 percent, Mountain Province – 260 cases or 6.5 percent, Abra – 220 cases or 5.5 percent and non-CAR provinces – 122 or 3 percent.
Of the total number of afflicted individuals, there were 2,032 males which represent 50.7 percent and those affected have an age range of 1 month to 94 years old with a median of 8 years old.
The DOH-CAR claimed that there were laboratory confirmed influenza like cases in the region and that clustering of cases were reported in all provinces except in Abra during the reckoning period.
Influenza like illness was described by health officials as an acute viral disease of the respiratory track characterized by fever, headache, mylagia, prostration, coyza, sore throat and severe cough.
The incubation of the influenza like illness is usually 1 to 3 days and patient recovery is usually 2 to 7 days.
Further, health officials ruled 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.
According to them, 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 low humidity.
On the other hand, transmission may also occur through direct contact and new subtypes may be transmitted globally within 3 to 6 months.
Worst, severe illness and death during annual infuenza epidemics occur primarily among the elderly and those debilitated by chronic cardiac pulmonary renal or metabolic disease, anemia or immunosuppression.
People suffering from fever and other similar symptoms were advised by health workers to immediately seek the needed consultation from the nearest health facility so that they will be provided with the appropriate medical treatment.
By Dexter A. See