The National Children’s Hospital is at 100% occupancy due to respiratory viruses. Two children have died of influenza and the authorities are on the alert for an increase in respiratory illnesses countrywide following a health alert from the Ministry of Health. The increase in cases came with the start of the rainy season.
Influenza kills even otherwise healthy people in extreme cases. A 12-year-old girl and a baby less than a year old lost their lives to it. Currently circulating are influenza A and the syncytial virus at the same time.
The syncytial respiratory virus mainly affects newborns and those with risk factors but influenza is a risk for the entire population. This is why the vaccine is recommended for everyone. The Caja is running a campaign from June 10 to July 22 to vaccinate those from 6 months to 6 years and those over 60 as well as those at risk. If nursing babies become ill they should continue to be breastfed as this transmits antibodies.
Authorities reiterate the importance of hand washing, cleaning surfaces, and even extreme preventive measures such as avoiding sites with a lot of people.