DOH: Pinoy Musician, 52, Possibly Died of Bird Flu; PH Remains Free of the Disease
Workers collect culled suspect birds in Shanghai market. AFP file photograph.
MANILA – The Department of Health (DOH) disclosed Monday that a 52-year-old Filipino musician has died of suspected bird flu, or avian flu almost a week after he returning from China last Feb. 14.
According to DOH acting Secretary Janette Garin, the Philippines still has never had a bird flu case since the first infected humans were documented during a poultry outbreak in Hong Kong in 1997.
“The observed symptoms, aggravated by the characteristic rapid progression of the sickness, and the history of travel from China coupled with a history of being exposed to live poultry, all contributed to the patient being considered a possible case of avian flu or bird flu,” said Garin.
Records showed the patient came home last Feb. 9 already feeling weak. The following day, he manifested cough, fever and diarrhea and on Feb. 11, his condition worsened.
The patient went to a hospital but refused to be admitted until he died last Feb. 14. He had worked in China for six years.
Garin said the initial results of the biopsy examination conducted on the patient had showed “pulmonary findings but these were inconclusive.”
The patient’s actual condition would have been established if he was autopsied, but Garin claimed that experts from Hong Kong did not recommend an autopsy.
“They said conducting an autopsy would have presented high risks of the virus, if that was the case, possibly spreading into the environment. The body was cremated. Hence, this case is now considered closed,” she added.
The DOH had placed the close contacts of the patient under a week-long observation, but they did not manifest any symptom. They were also given prophylaxis using Tamiflu.
“If indeed this patient, indeed, contracted bird flu, his death has ended the possibility of transmission in this case. There is nothing to worry about. But it doesn’t mean we should let up on the information campaign for our countrymen who are in countries with cases of bird flu, considering the increase in international travel to the Philippines,” Garin said.
She added that Filipinos worldwide “should be mindful of their families and their communities.”
The Department of Health encourages travelers to “please fill up truthfully” the health declaration checklist upon arrival at ports of entry.
“Inform the Bureau of Quarantine staff if you have has symptoms while traveling. Volunteer your travel history to your physicians. Effective control of infectious diseases in the Philippines requires every person to do their share of responsibility by being cooperative, honest and mindful,” Garin added.