Influenza Cases Dropping, but People Advised to Stay Vigilant
SAN JUAN – The Puerto Rico Health Department reported 61 new cases of influenza for the week ending Aug. 13, or epidemiological week number 32, for a total 1,344 cases for this year’s season. Last year’s season had a total 34,842 cases.
This last week was the second consecutive week the number of reported influenza cases dropped below 100. According to weekly reports for July, the number of cases reached almost 300 for the first part of the month.
“This influenza season started out very active. Just last week, we reported our first death [due to the disease]. But we all have the tools to avoid an increase in the number of cases,” Health Department Secretary Dr. Ana Ríus Rivera said.
Ríus Rivera reiterated people need to wash their hands with soap often as a key element in avoiding the spread of the virus.
Since children are particularly susceptible to the virus, as well as the elderly, the physician recommended parents include sanitizing products, such as alcohol-based hand sanitizers, in kid’s book bags and lunchboxes now that the school semester has begun. Ríus Rivera also emphasized the need to teach children to cover their sneezing and coughing with the inside of their elbows or with a disposable tissue. The doctor reminded parents to not send their children to school if they are feeling sick.
Influenza is a highly contagious viral infection of the respiratory passages, which causes fever, severe aching and catarrh.