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Cablegate: Brazil H1n1 Update - August 2009

VZCZCXRO3806
RR RUEHAST RUEHDH RUEHHM RUEHLN RUEHMA RUEHPB RUEHPOD RUEHSL RUEHTM
RUEHTRO
DE RUEHBR #1081 2401815
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 281815Z AUG 09
FM AMEMBASSY BRASILIA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4949
INFO RUEHSO/AMCONSUL SAO PAULO 4458
RUEHRI/AMCONSUL RIO DE JANEIRO 8113
RUEHRG/AMCONSUL RECIFE 9853
RUEHZN/ENVIRONMENT SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS BRASILIA 001081

DEPT FOR OES/IHB AMBASSADOR LOFTIS
DEPT FOR WHA/BSC
USDA PASS TO APHIS
HHS PASS TO CDC
HHS FOR OGHA

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: TBIO KFLU CASC AEMR AMED ASEC KSAF PREL PINR AMGT
KFLO, KPAO, BR
SUBJECT: BRAZIL H1N1 UPDATE - AUGUST 2009

(U) THIS MESSAGE IS SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED AND NOT FOR INTERNET
DISTRIBUTION. PLEASE HANDLE ACCORDINGLY.

1. (SBU) This report provides an update on developments in Brazil
regarding the H1N1 flu outbreak.

OVERALL SITUATION

2. (SBU) H1N1 flu has caused a considerable amount of concern among
the Brazilian population. Doctors anecdotally report that their
patients are coming in for minor cold and allergy symptoms (which
are exceedingly common during this time of year) fearing that they
may have contracted H1N1 flu. In general, doctors are performing an
initial clinical screening, which eliminates the majority of suspect
cases. Those that are not eliminated by this screening have an
actual flu test performed to concretely diagnose their case.
Generally, hospitals and clinics will isolate a patient during the
initial screening and in some cases until the results of the flu
test are received. According to the Ministry of Health, between
April 25 and August 22 the results of 30,854 flu tests were reported
by state and local health authorities. Of these tests, 16.9% tested
positive for H1N1, while 2.9% tested positive for seasonal flu. The
remaining cases were negative for any type of influenza.

3. (SBU) As of August 22 there have been 557 deaths in Brazil
attributed to H1N1 flu. This number has risen quickly in recent
weeks; though the rapid increase is due to a clearing of the testing
backlog rather than an increase in the infection rate. According to
the Ministry of Health the severity of H1N1 - based on the symptoms
it causes, the severity to which the symptoms are felt, the
frequency with which they appear, and the frequency with which
hospitalization is required - in Brazil is statistically
indistinguishable from the severity of the seasonal flu. The
Ministry's statistics also indicate that the rate of infection for
both H1N1 and season flu is declining as the flu season is nearing
an end.

IMPACT ON AMCIT COMMUNITY AND THE U.S. MISSION

4. (SBU) In mid-July a member of the Mission's local guard force
was diagnosed with a case of H1N1 flu. Additionally, the American
School of Brasilia (EAB) has temporarily suspended all of its fifth
grade classes. This action was undertaken after several students in
the fifth grade were suspected of having cases of H1N1. EAB is the
school in which most of the Embassy children are enrolled. In Sao
Paulo many schools, including the three that Consulate children
attend, delayed the resumption of classes following the July holiday
break by up to two weeks as a preventative measure against the
spread of H1N1. Most classes resumed the week of August 17.

KUBISKE

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