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Cablegate: Portugal H1n1 Update - Sept 3

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DE RUEHLI #0481 2461353
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R 031353Z SEP 09
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TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7848
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHPD/AMCONSUL PONTA DELGADA 0623
RUEAUSA/DEPT OF HHS WASHDC

UNCLAS LISBON 000481

SIPDIS

HHS FOR CDC

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: CASC AMED KFLU ETRD EAGR ECON EC PGOV PO
SUBJECT: PORTUGAL H1N1 UPDATE - SEPT 3

1. As of 30 August Portugal has 2,614 H1N1 cases with no
confirmed fatalities to date. 370 additional cases were
confirmed in the last week. 10 patients are hospitalized, 3
of whom are in intensive care.

2. Health Director Francisco George estimates that one
million Portuguese will be infected with the H1N1 virus and
about 10,000 will need hospitalization during the pandemic
peak. George expects that children and young people up to 19
years old will be infected at a higher rate over the next few
weeks, because of the start of the school year.

3. Health Minister Ana Jorge maintains there are adequate
contingency plans for schools to safely manage children who
exhibit H1N1 symptoms, including temporary isolation rooms,
identification of higher-risk students with chronic diseases,
a school dial in help-line, and substitute teachers available
to replace teachers who become infected. Jorge said school
closures would only be considered in the case of a serious
risk to public health.

4. Portuguese hospitals are expected to have difficulty
managing the projected caseload increase and resulting
overtime and surgery rescheduling costs.

5. At a September 1 H1N1 conference organized by Portuguese
health officials, Francisco George described the country's
early diagnosis and communication efforts as designed to slow
the spread of infection until H1N1 vaccine is available.
Minister Jorge said the seasonal flu vaccination campaign
will begin on September 15 and projected that distribution of
H1N1 vaccine would begin in mid-October.


For more reporting from Embassy Lisbon and information about Portugal,
please see our Intelink site:

http://www.intelink.sgov.gov/wiki/portal:port ugal
BALLARD

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