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Cablegate: Ecuador H1n1 Update: Goe Warns Foreign Missions of Possible

VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHQT #0740 2301448
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 181448Z AUG 09
FM AMEMBASSY QUITO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0770
INFO RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA 8329
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS 3685
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ AUG LIMA 3370
RUEHGL/AMCONSUL GUAYAQUIL 4571
RUEHRC/USDA FAS WASHDC 0647
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC
RUEAUSA/DEPT OF HHS WASHDC

UNCLAS QUITO 000740

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

HHS PASS TO CDC

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: CASC AMED KFLU ETRD EAGR ECON EC
SUBJECT: ECUADOR H1N1 UPDATE: GOE WARNS FOREIGN MISSIONS OF POSSIBLE
CONTAGION DURING CORREA'S INAUGURATION

REFTEL A: QUITO 655
B: QUITO 597

1. (SBU) Summary: The H1N1 influenza virus continues its gradual
expansion in Ecuador, with Ecuadoran press reporting August 14 that
several GoE employees close to President Correa have recently become
infected. These include one of Correa's closest Ministers and the
chief of his security detail. GoE personnel close to the President,
as well as the President himself, are under medical observation. On
August 14 the embassy received a diplomatic note addressed to
foreign missions and international organizations warning the foreign
delegations that attended President Correa's August 10 inauguration
to take appropriate precautions. The GoE reports 21 deaths and 682
cases of H1N1 flu to date. End Summary.

2. (SBU) On August 13, the Ministry of Public Health confirmed to
the public that Ecuador's Minister of Policy, Ricardo Patino, and
presidential Security Chief Johnny Merino had become infected with
the H1N1 virus. Patino and Merino are in a local hospital receiving
Tamiflu treatment. (Patino is in stable condition, but Merino is in
intensive care). A second presidential security guard has also
contracted the H1N1 virus.

3. (SBU) GoE Vice Minister of Health Marcelo Aguilar stated to local
media that, "Anyone who has been in close contact with the infected
people is under observation, including the President." President
Correa is reportedly asymptomatic. The President's spokesman told
Econoff August 14 that the presidential press room and the
President's office have been disinfected. All visitors to the
President's office in Carondelet Palace, including press, must wear
protective masks.

4. (SBU) The Ministry of Foreign Relations formally informed all
diplomatic missions and international organizations in a diplomatic
note dated August 12 (but which arrived August 14) of the H1N1 cases
among President Correa's staff. In the dipnote, the Ministry warns
that all foreign delegations that may have had contact with GoE
authorities during the President's August 10 inaugural events should
take appropriate precautions. It also asks that any cases of H1N1
that may have derived from contact with infected individuals in
Ecuador be reported back to the GoE.

5. (SBU) The GOE reports 21 fatalities and a total of 682 confirmed
cases of H1N1 flu as of August 14 throughout Ecuador. However,
since many influenza cases go unreported, the real number of cases
is likely to be significantly higher. (GOE public health
interventions were reported refs A and B.) According to the GoE
Ministry of Health's website, H1N1 influenza cases are distributed
among the provinces as follows: Guayas (Guayaquil)(237), Pichincha
(Quito)(145), El Oro (21), Manabi (Manta)(35), Azuay (Cuenca)(52),
Caar (8), Chimborazo (35), Tungurahua (12), Pastaza (10),Carchi
(6), Esmeraldas (12),Loja (45), Morona Santiago (7), Napo (3),Los
Rios (16), Cotopaxi (6), Imbabura (6), Zamora Chinchipe (6), Santo
Domingo (5), Santa Elena (4), Orellana (1), and Bolivar (9).

Hodges

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