Sep 242014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2009/06/09MANILA1338.html#
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
09MANILA1338
2009-06-24 08:53
2011-08-30 01:44
UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY
Embassy Manila

VZCZCXRO7637
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHFK RUEHHM RUEHKSO RUEHNAG RUEHNH RUEHPB
DE RUEHML #1338/01 1750853
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 240853Z JUN 09
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 4478
INFO RHHMUNA/USPACOM HONOLULU HI IMMEDIATE
RUCNASE/ASEAN MEMBER COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RUEHZU/ASIAN PACIFIC ECONOMIC COOPERATION COLLECTIVE IMMEDIATE
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC IMMEDIATE
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHDC IMMEDIATE
UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 001338

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED

BANGKOK FOR HOWELL HOWARD AND WINSTON BOWMAN
STATE PASS USTR JANE DOHERTY
STATE PASS USDA/FAS/OSTA CLAY HAMILTON AND CASEY BEAN
STATE PASS USAID
STATE PASS HHS/NIH
STATE PASS HHS/CDC

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KFLU AEMR ASEC CASC KFLO TBIO KSAF KPAO PREL PINR
AMGT, MG, RP
SUBJECT: Philippines’ First A(H1N1) Influenza Death

REF: A) MANILA 1108 B) MANILA 1246

¶1. (U) Summary: The Philippine Department of Health has confirmed
the country’s first death related to Influenza A(H1N1): a
49-year-old woman employee of the Philippine House of
Representatives with a history of heart disease. The death and a
growing number of confirmed cases (near 500) prompted the Health
Department to declare a low-level community outbreak in Metropolitan
Manila and call for a high-level meeting on June 25 to discuss
response measures. Post continues to monitor the potential for a
wider outbreak of the virus (Ref A). Mission will continue to work
with Philippine government and health officials to emphasize an
appropriately calibrated public health and public information
response to what has so far been a relatively mild influenza virus.
End summary.

First A(H1N1) Death in Asia
—————————

¶2. (U) On June 19, Asia’s first reported death caused by Influenza
A(H1N1) occurred in Manila. The 49-year-old female had pre-existing
chronic heart disease that was aggravated by the flu virus. The
woman came home from work at the House of Representatives
complaining of weakness and died two days later of congestive heart
failure. In response, the Speaker of the House dismissed all staff
at noon June 23, after requiring more than 3,000 House employees to
receive flu vaccinations. The week-long hiatus is intended to allow
the government to undertake decontamination and sanitation
procedures at legislative offices. Work will resume Monday, June 29
though the Legislature is still in recess for another month.

¶3. (U) The Department of Health declared a “low-level community
outbreak” in Metro Manila on June 23. The Department of Health
characterizes the severity of the outbreak in the Philippines as
mild and reports that 85 percent of the near 500 confirmed infected
persons recovered after only three to four days of mild illness.
The Department will convene a national conference June 25 to discuss
and revise appropriate response measures. The Health Department’s
response is shifting from a focus on stopping transmission and
detection of affected individuals to a focus on treatment of
individuals at high risk for complications and continued public
education. The Health Department has partnered with the Philippines
largest mobile telephone network to launch a texting hotline to
provide the public updates on A(H1N1). The Department of Health
website also regularly posts A(H1N1)updates on its website
(http://www.doh.gov.ph/h1n1/).

School Dismissals
—————–

¶4. (U) Upon advice from the Health Department, forty public and
private schools and universities in Metro Manila have voluntarily
closed for 10-day periods to minimize opportunities for flu
transmission. To compensate for missed classes, schools will hold
Saturday classes, have shorter holiday breaks, or extend the school
calendar year.

Filipinos and Foreigners Face Quarantines
—————————————–

¶5. (U) Singapore authorities quarantined all 20 members of the
visiting national Philippine soccer team over June 20 weekend after
one Filipino player tested positive for the A(H1N1) virus.
Singapore authorities denied the Philippine request to cut the
quarantine period to five days, preventing the Philippine team from
playing the qualifying rounds of the first Asian Youth Games.

¶6. (SBU) Within the Philippines, a visiting U.S. musician was
refused entry at the University of Santo Tomas Manila campus last
week for not having been in the country for at least 10 days, a
government-recommended self-confinement period for persons coming
from countries affected by the A(H1N1) virus. Her class has been
rescheduled for June 26, by which time she will have met the 10-day
requirement (Ref B).

¶7. (SBU) On June 20, the visiting USNS Impeccable and its crew were
quarantined and tested for flu-like symptoms upon arrival at the
Subic Bay Freeport Zone in Zambales province. The crew was
eventually cleared for quartering and crew change at the port, and

MANILA 00001338 002 OF 002

departed as scheduled on June 22.

COMMENT
——-

¶8. (SBU) The Philippine typhoon season from June to November
usually coincides with its flu and dengue season, placing a greater
burden on the health system and highlighting the importance of
accurate risk communication to the public. In this context, the
country will need to continue monitoring the A(H1N1) outbreak and
adapting appropriate response measures. However, Mission has also
noted an upswing in public concern in recent weeks, some of it
focused on visiting foreigners and those with recent overseas
travel. Mission will continue to monitor carefully the responses of
Philippine government and health officials, as well as the media and
general public, to ensure that the high-profile headlines do not
overshadow the fact that this is a relatively mild influenza with a
very low mortality rate so far.
KENNEY

   

 

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