Sep 232014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2009/06/09MANILA1246.html#
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09MANILA1246
2009-06-10 08:33
2011-08-30 01:44
UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Embassy Manila

VZCZCXRO5038
OO RUEHCHI RUEHCN RUEHDT RUEHFK RUEHHM RUEHKSO RUEHNAG RUEHPB
DE RUEHML #1246/01 1610833
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 100833Z JUN 09
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4341
INFO RUEHZU/APEC COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RHHMUNA/USPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 001246

SIPDIS

BANGKOK FOR HOWELL HOWARD AND WINSTON BOWMAN
STATE PASS USAID
STATE PASS HHS/NIH
STATE PASS HHS/CDC

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ASEC KFLU AEMR CASC KFLO TBIO KSAF KPAO PREL PINR
AMGT, MG, RP
SUBJECT: MGSF01: H1N1 ANXIETY IN THE PHILIPPINES

REF: A) MANILA 0913 B) MANILA 0941 C) MANILA 0959 D) MANILA 1043 E)
MANILA 1108

¶1. (SBU) SUMMARY: While the number of H1N1 cases in the Philippines
remains low (54) and there have been no related deaths, high-profile
media coverage and precautionary university closures have increased
anxiety levels among the Philippine public. Mission continues to
work with Philippine authorities to disseminate appropriate
prevention messages to the public, while Post management has
continued efforts to allay fears and remind Mission staff of flu
prevention measures. END SUMMARY.

Philippine Department of Health Shifts Strategy
——————————————— —

¶2. (SBU) The Philippine Department of Health reported June 9 it had
confirmed 54 H1N1 cases, with an additional 148 suspected cases
awaiting laboratory results. The Department of Health has shifted
its H1N1 strategy after determining that the local case profile is
mild. It will stop contact tracing, which has little benefit for a
fast-spreading illness, and only hospitalize people with high-risk
preexisting conditions. In an effort to put the flu danger in
perspective, the Philippine Health Department pointed out that
dengue fever has infected over 6500 people and caused 62 deaths in
the Philippines in the first four months of 2009.

Delayed University Openings
—————————

¶3. (U) Nonetheless, fears over more widespread infection led
several major universities to close or delay the start of the new
school year, which traditionally begins in June. De La Salle
University in Manila closed June 4 and advised students and faculty
to confine themselves to their homes until June 14 after an exchange
student was diagnosed with H1N1. Since the closure, 13 more De La
Salle students have been diagnosed with H1N1. At least six colleges
and universities delayed opening for several weeks after the normal
June 1 start of the school year in order to allow returning students
and staff time to complete the self-quarantine period encouraged by
the Philippine Commission on Higher Education.

¶4. (U) The Philippine Department of Health determined the
H1N1-positive university students only had mild flu cases, and have
advised against school closures in the future, even with confirmed
cases. But media reports continue to spotlight the relatively small
number of cases, keeping it on the front pages, and many of the
stories have focused on the nationality of the flu sufferers, or
their recent foreign travel, adding a hint of anti-foreigner bias to
the issue.

Mission Partners with Philippine Health Department
——————————————— —–

¶5. USAID is continuing to work closely with the Philippine
Department of Health to produce flyers, posters, leaflets, and other
public-information materials on proper hand washing, cough manners,
and other measures people can take to avoid catching and spreading
H1N1. This reinforces ongoing handwashing campaigns, including the
Ambassador’s participation in an Earth Day event to demonstrate
correct handwashing procedures to mothers with young children.

Reassuring Public of U.S. Troop’s Health
—————————————-

¶6. On a June 4 trip to Zamboanga, Mindanao, where several hundred
U.S. military personnel with the U.S. Joint Special Task Force are
temporarily deployed, the Ambassador spoke to local media and noted
that U.S. military forces undergo thorough medical screening before
deployment and are regularly observed by trained medical staff.
Emphasizing that the United States takes seriously the health of all
U.S. personnel and our obligation not to spread disease, she
encouraged proper hand washing and cough manners as ways to stay
healthy and avoid spreading communicable diseases.

Putting Disease in Perspective
——————————

¶7. Post Management has continued its active information campaign
for Mission personnel, emphasizing that no cases of H1N1 have been
found within the Embassy community and that all the cases reported
among the Philippine public have been mild. The international
schools where most Embassy children attend classes follow the
American school year and are currently on summer break.

MANILA 00001246 002 OF 002

KENNEY

   

 

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