Cuba on Alert of Second Wave of A (H1N1)


Prensa Latina: The Public Health (MINSAP) Vice Minister Luis Estruch called to step up preventive measures facing the second wave of A(H1N1) flu that have killed 41 people and infected about 1,000 in Cuba.

So far there are 1000 confirmed there could be more but only those backed by a sample of the virus are approved as official data, expressed the vice minister in statements made to Granma daily.

For the man in charged of Hygiene, Epidemiology and Microbiology in the Ministry of Health no country can afford to test all the people suspicious of the virus since the analysis of every sample costs about 100 dollars.

Estruch emphasized that if the disease is treated in time there is no danger for life due to the resources of the country of hospitals capacities, therapy service, oxygenation, antibiotics and other medicines.

The first cases in Cuba were detected on May with the return of three Mexican students to classes and in September the disease already showed up all over the country more deeply in the western side, recalled the Vice minister.

As part of the Cuban strategy to face the flu the official mentioned special control of pregnant women and disabled children, the most vulnerable groups of the population.

He also called to intensify ports and airports searches facing the mass entry of tourists from December to February and the return of Cuban collaborators from abroad and foreign scholarships.

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Cuba announces first swine flu deaths


HAVANA (AFP) – Cuba announced that three pregnant women died after contracting swine flu, the first report of A(H1N1) casualties on the communist island.

“We unfortunately have to regret three confirmed cases of people who died” of swine flu, Deputy Health Minister Jose Angel Portal Miranda said on a television news program.

He did not say when the three women died.

According to government officials, the number of confirmed H1N1 cases in the country stands at 621 people, including 177 children.

National Epidemiology Director Manuel Santin said around 30 percent of the cases were “imported” by tourism to the island, which hosts 2.5 million visitors a year.

According to the latest World Health Organisation figures, at least 4,525 people have died from swine flu infections since the virus was uncovered in April.

This is an increase of 417 fatal cases from a week ago when 4,108 deaths were recorded, the UN health agency said in its weekly update of the pandemic.

Most deaths occurred in the Americas region, where 3,292 fatalities have been reported.

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Cuba calls for help obtaining swine flu vaccine


AFP:

HAVANA — Cuba called Monday on the World Health Organization and the Pan American Health Organization to help it acquire doses of a vaccine against the A(H1N1) virus.

“The new vaccine against the A(H1N1) virus, which has begun being administered in more developed countries, is highly effective, but also very expensive,” said Health Minister Luis Estruch.

“Our country is seeking the cooperation of the World Health Organization and the Pan American Health Organization in obtaining the vaccine so it can be administered to those people most vulnerable to the virus,” he said.

Speaking to official daily newspaper Granma, Estruch said that Cuba has purchased stocks of the seasonal flu vaccine, which does not specifically protect against swine flu, and would vaccinate the population groups at greatest risk.

With 468 confirmed cases of infection and no deaths from the A(H1N1) virus, Cuba is taking various measures, including a strong media campaign, to prevent a second wave of infections in the autumn.

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Swine flu virus hits Royal Ballet on Cuba visit


HAVANA,  (Reuters) – Five members of Britain’s Royal Ballet came down with the H1N1 swine flu virus during their just-ended visit to Cuba, but all have recovered, a spokeswoman for the dance company said on Monday.

Tests confirmed the dancers had the virus, they were isolated and given flu medicine the ballet had brought along on its first trip to Havana, said spokeswoman Elizabeth Bell.

The outbreak forced some personnel shuffling among the 96 dancers, but performances went on as scheduled.

“It was contained and the show went on,” she said. “They are all well now.”

A sixth dancer had flu-like symptoms and was isolated but the presence of the virus, which has become a pandemic, was not confirmed, Bell said.

The London-based Royal Ballet closed out five nights of performances in the Cuban capital on Saturday

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Center of Biotechnology and Genetics Engineering of Cuba is producing highly effective antivirals


Juventud Rebelde: The Havana-based Center of Biotechnology and Genetics Engineering (CIGB) is producing highly effective antivirals that are being used in the treatment of patients infected with the Influenza A (H1N1) virus in Cuba.

Carlos Borroto, deputy director of the CIGB, told journalists in Havana that this center is producing the antivirals in advanced plants with the cooperation of the Pedro Kouri Institute of Tropical Medicine (IPK), which leads the work of several Cuban health and scientific units in the fight against this virus and in the design of strategies.

Borroto, who participated in the activities to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the CIGB in eastern Camagüey, said that the IPK and the CIGB are also working with the National Center of Agricultural Health.

He added that discussions are underway among several institutions to obtain a specific medicine against the Influenza A (H1N1) virus, including a vaccine.

In this regard, he stressed that the CIGB could make a significant contribution due to its experience in the creation of other immunizers.

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Plan for confronting Influenza A H1N1


Granma:

CONVENED by the Civil Defense National General Staff, officials from the Ministry of Public Health on Thursday appeared before high-ranking representatives of 15 Central State Administration agencies and the People’s Power bodies to present a multi-sector plan for confronting Influenza AH1N1, considering the spiraling advance of the new virus, which as of Wednesday, June 3, had resulted in 21,145 sick and 123 dead in 72 countries.

The general objective of the plan is to reduce the risk of the introduction and spread of AH1N1 in Cuba and to minimize the negative effects of the pandemic on the health of the population, as well as its impact on the economic/social sphere if there were to be an outbreak.

For this purpose, Cuba has the necessary human resources and materials and a health care system that is accessible to and free of charge for all its citizens.

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Fourth Case of New Influenza in Cuba


HAVANA TIMES, May 20 – A Canadian child aged 14 months was confirmed today as the fourth case of persons arriving to Cuba found to be infected with the influenza A (H1N1), stated the Ministry of Public Health in a notice published in the local press. According to the source, the other three reported cases, who are Mexican medical students, are making satisfactorily progress with the treatment.

In the days after his arrival to Cuba, the Canadian boy presented fever and respiratory symptoms and was attended in a Cuban hospital. He is satisfactorily reacting to treatment, said the health authorities, reported IPS.

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