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Cablegate: Argentina: H1n1 Influenza Beginning to Wane

VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBU #0952 2331632
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 211632Z AUG 09
FM AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4241
INFO RUCNMER/MERCOSUR COLLECTIVE
RUEAUSA/DEPT OF HHS WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/CDR USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL

UNCLAS BUENOS AIRES 000952

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR OES/IHB - P. MURPHY AND D. WILUSZ
DEPT PLEASE PASS TO CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: TBIO SOCI PREL AMED ELAB CASC KIPR AR
SUBJECT: ARGENTINA: H1N1 INFLUENZA BEGINNING TO WANE

REF: BUENOS AIRES 0908 AND PREVIOUS

1. As of August 20, Argentina had confirmed 441 deaths due to H1N1
influenza. Official estimates indicated that more than 800,000
people had contracted the virus to date. According to Dr. Horacio
Lopez, Head of Infectious Diseases at the School of Medicine and
Medical Advisor to the City of Buenos Aires, health officials in
Buenos Aires were reporting a steady decline in H1N1 patients in the
city's hospitals. Lopez said that health officials were closely
watching the pandemic's evolution since the return of schoolchildren
to classes some two weeks ago, but told us he doubted there would be
what he referred to as a "second wave." He added that the coming
warmer weather would most certainly result in less flu cases.
Still, Lopez expected that some H1N1 cases would continue to occur
during the coming spring season.

2. Dr. Francisco Averhoff, a CDC physician and epidemiologist
detailed to assist Argentina in its response, confirmed that the
number of cases in Greater Buenos Aires had declined significantly.
He noted, however, that new cases were still rising in the northern
provinces. Averhoff agreed that the early August re-opening of
schools raised the possibility of a spike in new cases, but noted
that it was still too early to determine if this was taking place,
given the lag in contracting and reporting the disease. He noted
that the CDC was working closely with the Ministry of Health (MoH)
in several studies, among them a Severe Acute Respiratory Illnesses
(SARI) surveillance program, and a study of the economic impact and
effectiveness of the initial school closings in Argentina. He
mentioned that the CDC had not observed any mutations in the H1N1
virus so far, and that H1N1 was now the dominant flu strain in
Argentina.

3. On August 18-21, Argentina hosted the first "World Fair of
Health and Municipalities" in Buenos Aires, with support from the
Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the World Health
Organization (WHO). The primary objective of the fair was to
promote public health policies at the local level. At the opening
ceremony on August 18, Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de
Kirchner (CFK) publicly called again for laboratories to "suspend
their economic rights to protect the health of the world." She
renewed the offer from "Argentina and other countries of the region,
like Brazil and Uruguay, to collaborate with the manufacturing
capacity of their pharmaceutical industry to produce the vaccines
under license." (Note: Our contacts tell us that Argentina does
not have the very specialized capability to produce vaccines and
would not be able to do so within three years, at the very least, if
the government really followed through on CFK's proclamation. End
Note.) Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health (MOH) announced that it
will procure 8 million doses of vaccine (for a population of 40
million) through the World Health Organization, after direct
negotiations with international laboratories reportedly failed.

KELLY

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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