QUITO – Health Minister Caroline Chang confirmed Friday that two Ecuadorians have died from the AH1N1 flu virus, President Rafael Correa’s office said.
“It was a 28-year-old patient who became ill in a rural community of Cuenca canton and a patient in the Tungurahua province,” officials said in a statement on the presidential Web site.
The Health Ministry is maintaining an alert and immediately put epidemiological measures into effect including the strategy of mitigation adopted on the basis of the World Health Organization’s declaration of a pandemic.
This strategy includes the search for and warnings to the patients most vulnerable to the AH1N1 virus, such as those with chronic diseases, the president’s office said.
The Health Ministry said it has decided to step up the epidemiological watch at points of entry into the country to avoid an expansion of swine flu, of which 218 cases have now been confirmed in Ecuador.
Health authorities will also maintain a special follow-up for people who show symptoms and have come into contact with confirmed cases.
The province of Guayas, whose capital is Guayaquil, is the most affected by the AH1N1 virus with more than 100 cases, but presence of the disease has also been confirmed in the provinces of Pichincha, El Oro, Manabi, Azuay, Cañar, Chimborazo, Tungurahua, Pastaza, Carchi, Esmeraldas and Loja. EFE