Three Deaths as Influenza Cases Continue to Rise
SAN JUAN – Puerto Rico epidemiologist Brenda Rivera García said Thursday 249 cases of influenza and 18 related hospitalizations were reported across the island for week 50 (Dec. 13 to 19) of 2015. The first three deaths due to influenza were also reported.
“Two males and a female died, two in the metropolitan health area and one in the Caguas region. Their ages range from less than 5 years old to more than 85 years old. This is why we put so much emphasis on vaccination against seasonal influenza for everyone older than six months,” said Rivera García in a written statement.
The health professional stated that none of the three cases showed evidence of having been vaccinated against seasonal influenza and, due to their age and other conditions, all were at risk for complications due to an influenza infection.
Rivera García advised that, even though cases in Puerto Rico have not reached epidemic levels, there is a clear, upward trend in the number of cases reported in the past three weeks. She added that the best way to avoid contagion is by getting the vaccine, and that “it is never too late to get vaccinated.” Also, the vigorous washing of the hands with soap and water is another way to avoid contagion.
“We should take the opportunity this Christmas to go together as a family and get vaccinated to give ourselves the gift of health. Let’s all avoid another epidemic this year,” Rivera García said.
The epidemiologist also informed that the number of cases for chikungunya and dengue infections continue to be low. Nevertheless, due to recent shower activity across the island, Rivera García advised about the need to eliminate all possible mosquito breeding containers around people’s homes.