Photo from the Food and Agriculture Organization
MANILA — The Philippines continues to be bird flu-free despite the unconfirmed report that a Filipino died from the disease.
“The Philippines remains to be bird flu-free. We cannot even consider this case confirmed,” said Acting Health Secretary Janette Garin in a press conference Monday.
The health chief also said they made no more efforts to confirm if the death was indeed caused by Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (H5N1) or bird flu over fears that an autopsy could place others at risk.
“We chose to contain the patient. The body was cremated eventually, hence this case has been declared closed,” she said.
Based on the information gathered by the DOH, the 52-year-old man arrived from China on February 9 but suffered bird flu symptoms such as fever, cough and occasional diarrhea the day after.
The Filipino, who had direct contact with poultry, sought medical attention on February 11 but eventually died on February 14.
Because of the death of the patient, Garin said it has already eliminated the possibility of the suspected bird flu virus being transmitted to others.
She added human-to-human transmission of the virus has not yet been established.
Still, the DOH head said they opted to have his close contacts placed under observation up until last Saturday.
Garin also said they gave prophylaxis to the close contacts for one week. (HDT/Sunnex)