Q COSTA RICA NEWS – The Ministry of Health confirmed Thursday night that in the last six weeks nine people died of influenza in different parts of the country.
The victims, aged between 4 months and 74, were infected with the AH1N1 and AH3N2 strains and in eight of the nine cases they high risk factors such as diabetes, hypertension, obesity, pulmonary diseases, heart disease or kidney diseases.
According to the preliminary report by Ministry of Health (Ministerio de Salud) none of the dead had been vaccinated against the seasonal virus. Four patients resided in Florencia, Guatuso, Aguas Zarcas and Santa Rosa de Pocosol (San Carlos); the others in Esparza (Puntarenas); Tibás and Goicoechea (San José); Cartago; and Santa Cruz (Guanacaste).
Melvin Anchía, a regional epidemiologist at the Ministry of Health in San Carlos, confirmed that there was one more death in that region, which occurred in the last week of October.
He added that there are 20 people with these same characteristics hospitalized at the San Carlos hospital, two of them in critical condition.
At the end of last year, starting in the second week of December, the country experienced a late peak of severe acute respiratory infections (SARI), which claimed 27 lives by January 17.
Authorities urge proper hygiene measures such as washing hands and sneezing into forearms or a handkerchief to avoid spreading infection; avoid smoking; and if flu symptoms appear, do not go to work until coughing and sneezing ceases. Those suffering from respiratory diseases should also avoid going to places with large groups of people
Transplant patients, people with a high level of obesity, immune system disorders, chronic respiratory or cardiac problems, diabetics, children under three years and over 65 years need to take extra care against the influenza virus.