MANILA, Philippines ? A 42-year-old public school teacher who died Wednesday in Muntinlupa City tested positive for the Influenza A(H1N1) virus, according to the Muntinlupa health office.
Pending confirmation from the Department of Health (DoH), this could bring to four the number of fatalities linked to swine flu in the Philippines, Dr. Edilinda Patac, Muntinlupa City health officer, said Friday.
The teacher, a woman, died due to septic shock or infection of the blood, secondary to community acquired pneumonia. Quoting hospital reports, Patac said the teacher had been confined at the Ospital ng Muntinlupa since Sunday because of vomiting, diarrhea and high fever.
The death was reported to the city health office only on Thursday night as the attending physician had earlier ruled out A(H1N1) virus as the main cause of death.
However, a day after the teacher?s death, the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) released the patient?s swab test results confirming she was positive for the A(H1N1) virus.
Patac said the city health office, upon learning the results, reviewed the patient?s medical records to determine whether A(H1N1) was the primary cause of death.
She enumerated the patient?s illnesses: ?She had anemia, hematuria, (blood in the urine) and a brain tumor.?
She was a mother of four kids. She was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2005 which was later cured, Patac said.
?A(H1N1) may have aggravated all her illnesses resulting in death,? she added.
Patac said the city health office immediately traced the people who had come in close contact with the victim. As a precaution, they were given Oseltamivir, an anti-viral drug.
They included the victim?s 70-year-old mother, the victim?s children and other relatives who are 5 years old and below.
To prevent the spread of the virus, the city health personnel will disinfect the entire school where the victim worked this weekend.
In a statement, Muntinlupa Mayor Aldrin San Pedro appealed to residents, especially those with pre-existing medical conditions, to immediately see a doctor if they exhibit flu-like symptoms.
At press time, the DoH was still in the process of verifying if the Muntinlupa patient had indeed died of the A(H1N1) virus.
?We still do not have the records. What we have is the verbal confirmation from the city health officer that [the patient] is positive for A(H1N1),? said Dr. Irma Asuncion, DoH regional director for Metro Manila.
Asuncion said they were still in the process of obtaining the patient?s records for the health department?s perusal.
According to the DoH, people considered high-risk for A(H1N1) are those with uncontrolled diabetes, cardiovascular and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, chronic liver and kidney disease, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and other infections.
Also considered high-risk are organ transplant recipients or immuno-compromised such as pregnant women and the very young (5 years and below) and the elderly.
Last week two males died from the A(H1N1) virus: a 75-year-old who had emphysema and a 17-year-old who had asthma.
A month ago, a 49-year-old mother who was also an employee of the House of Representatives, succumbed to a heart attack but later tested positive for the dreaded virus. With a report from Norman Bordadora