MANILA, Philippines ? The Department of Health (DoH) confirmed on Monday five new cases of the A(H1N1) virus, bringing the total number of cases to 21.
Two of the new patients ? a 41-year-old woman and a 50-year-old man ? were the latest to have contracted the disease from two Taiwanese nationals at a wedding in Zambales province two weeks ago, Health Secretary Francisco Duque said.
The three others came from the United States, including a 19-year-old woman, a 39-year-old woman, and a 45-year-old man, Duque told a news conference.
The two new patients who got sick from contact in Zambales were ?most likely? the last cases there, because the 10-day observation period for flu symptoms has lapsed. The wedding took place last May 17, he said.
A total of 10 people were infected by the Taiwanese mother and child at the wedding, Duque said.
Of the 21 confirmed cases, four were discharged from the hospital on Monday. Three others were discharged last week, including the country?s first two confirmed cases and the first confirmed infection from the Zambales wedding, the DoH chief said.
Since May 1, the DoH has quarantined 315 suspected A(H1N1) cases, of which 21 were confirmed, 262 were cleared and while 32 were awaiting test results, he said.
There are 30 new cases under observation, he said.
Duque said the A(H1N1) virus has not mutated even at the onset of the rainy season.
?It appears it has maintained its characteristics even in countries where flu season simultaneously began? Rest assured the DoH is doing contact tracing, thermal scanning and monitoring of arrival of passengers in the country,? said.
Duque said the DoH has reiterated flu-prevention measures to the Department of Education (DepEd), the Commission on Higher Education (Ched) and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) as classes opened on Monday.
Duque said the DoH has set up an ?Influenza A(H1N1) Response Level System? similar to public storm signals to guide students and school authorities.
Level 2 alert is raised at present, meaning there are confirmed cases but it has not reached schools so there is no need to postpone classes, said Duque.
Class will be suspended when the alert reaches Level 3, when a case is confirmed inside a school, but the infection has not reached the level of a community outbreak, he said.
Alert Level 4 will be raised when the infection extends outside the school, he said.