Spanish Flu – A (H1N1) Influenza Virus
Last Saturday it was mentioned in the Panamanian news that the number of people killed by the influenza A (H1N1) virus this year has risen to 23. Deputy Minister of Health, Francisco Sucre, explained that the victims are under five years of age and older adults with an immune system compromised by chronic disease. Data from the Ministry’s Epidemiology center shows that the majority of cases are in the province of Chiriqui, with 14 deaths, 10 of them children and 4 of adults. The authorities state that next week the Pan American Health Organization will send half a million vaccines, which were requested to fight the flu.
A hundred years ago, in 1918, a worldwide influenza pandemic infected 500 million people around the world, including people on remote Pacific islands and in the Arctic. The influenza pandemic resulted in the deaths of 50 to 100 million (three to five percent of the world’s population), making it one of the deadliest natural disasters in human history. As this happened during the First World War, very little was known and only Spain was allowed to give information about it. For that reason it was called the “Spanish flu”, which was caused by the virus H1N1 type.
After this incident, there are still annual cases of influenza around the world. Luckily a vaccine for this disease has been developed and in Panama we have one that protects against as many strains as possible (four strains). Hence, it is of great importance that people include the influenza vaccine within their lifestyle. The influenza vaccine must be applied every year, regardless of the date it was administered the previous year.
Currently, the types of influenza detected in the country with the highest incidence are A (H1N1), AH3N2 and influenza type B.
The symptoms are similar to those of common flu: high fever, dry cough, headache, sore throat, nasal congestion, muscle aches, diarrhea, and vomiting – lasting for about a week. It is recommended to go to the doctor if you are part of the most vulnerable groups of the population: children and older adults – or if you suffer from one (or more) of these symptoms.
In 2016, there was an unusual case of the virus in Panama that caused more deaths than usual (73). However, more than 2.6 million people were vaccinated (63% of the population) – which allowed a decrease of 30% of the cases in 2017 with respect to the previous year and also a decrease in the number of deaths.
It is essential to emphasize how important it is to be aware of the virus and the vaccine, as it has shown that this vaccine reduces the risk of the virus and also saves lives. Furthermore, being part of the vulnerable groups of the population in these situations – but also for others – it is important to have good health insurance.
Health insurance does not have to be expensive, and it is such a relief when things are arranged well! If something will be wrong with your health, you would like to be in good hands – and with Magda Crespo Insurance you have an insurance agency and company completely committed to you.
Read the information on our website under the heading ‘Insurance’ and contact Magda, who can tell you everything about it.
Better safe, than sorry!
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