An update on the Swine Flu situation in Chile:
See more recent updates posted on:
For a Related Post, see:
May 29, 2009: AH1N1 in Chile, a Scientist’s Perspective
Swine Flu Part 2:
OK, OK, I SWEAR that Cachando Chile is not going to turn into another one of those hum-drum news blogs… I’ll post something fun again very soon, but in the meantime, C’mon… Admit it… You’re curious, right? The whole WORLD is watching this thing… We ALL want to know where it’s going… Are you planning your face mask style (plain white? blue? decorated) Thinking about wearing gloves in the subway? Are you singing 2 rounds of Happy Birthday as you wash your hands with soap?
I think our curiosity is driven by a combination of things: there’s that oh-so-horribly-human morbidity factor, and then there’s the “Oh My God, What if it Happens to ME???” element. And then of course, there are those of us here at the ends of the Earth, in Chile, where we’re doing battle to convince the world of our non-third-world status, and some damned-flu-bug-comes-along-and-could-blow-us-all-out-of-the-water so we’re rooting for the home team (that being Chile, of course)… hoping that this wonderful enchanted land manages to steer clear of this ugly porcine beast that’s managing to wreak havoc on the world’s imagination right now. And I’m sure that I’m not the only one to feel a certain twisted pleasure in knowing that SO FAR, we’re faring better than the big guys (US, Mexico, Spain, UK, Austria,
So let’s get one thing straight right up front…. So Far… Even though the WHO (World Health Organization) has upgraded the Swine Flu to a Phase 5 Pandemic status, today, April 29, there are still no confirmed cases in Chile. 42 cases have been presented for evaluation; 16 have already been discarded, and 26 remain under study. Sixteen of those cases are in the Metropolitan Region (Santiago & surrounding area), 2 in Valparaíso, and the remainder, from north to south: Atacama (2), O’Higgins (4), Bío Bío (1), and Araucanía (1).
It is important to bear in mind that as the Southern Hemisphere is currently in transition between autumn and winter, and as such Chile is also within its normal seasonal flu period, which is predicted to peak in mid-May. The symptoms of both flu types are similar, but people who have NOT traveled to affected zones should follow the normal indications for seasonal flu.
The Chilean Ministry of Health asks the population to remain calm and not rush to Health Service Centers unless it is necessary. If a patient is experiencing high fever, respiratory difficulty, cough, and muscular pain, call the “Salud Responde” Health Response Hotline number: 600-360-7777 prior to going to a health center.
- Primary Attention Centers are currently being defined, with at least 1 per comuna (municipality) to evaluate patients
- Hospital Attention: 60 hospitals have been defined in isolated zones
- Antiviral Treatments: Of the 255,000 treatments in stock in Chile, 43,000 are currently being distributed in the public sector and 20,000 in the private sector.
The public is urged not to self-medicate; antiviral medications administered without a prescription can provoke resistance to that medication.
All international ports of entry (land, air, or sea) will continue to be closely monitored, and all of the country’s 15 regions now have a Regional Outbreak Response and Health Emergency Committee in place.
As of 6:00 PM today, April 29, the WHO reported that 9 countries have officially reported numerous cases of swine flu in: Mexico (1614 suspected cases, 26 confirmed, 7 deaths), USA (91 cases, 1 death), Canada (13 cases), United Kingdom (5 cases), New Zeland (3 cases), Austria (1 case), , and Israel (number of cases unknown as of this writing).