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Cablegate: H1n1 Claims Second Luxembourger Life

VZCZCXRO5904
RR RUEHIK
DE RUEHLE #0341 3271409
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 231409Z NOV 09
FM AMEMBASSY LUXEMBOURG
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 6819
INFO RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHPH/CDC ATLANTA GA
RUEAUSA/DEPT OF HHS WASHDC

UNCLAS LUXEMBOURG 000341

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV KFLU CASC SOCI ASCH AMED KPAO TBIO LU
SUBJECT: H1N1 CLAIMS SECOND LUXEMBOURGER LIFE

1. (U) The Grand Duchy registered its second swine
flu-related death on 16 November. The 48-year-old victim,
like Luxembourg's only other fatal case, suffered from other,
unspecified maladies. Luxembourg's Health Ministry reports
1,535 estimated cases across the country (as of 17 November).
Government officials have insisted from day one that
Luxembourg has the necessary resources to inoculate the
country's entire population, and, in fact, has ordered
700,000 doses of Pandemrix from GlaxoSmithKline (Luxembourg's
total population falls just under half a million).

2. (U) The International School of Luxembourg (ISL) has
reported high counts of H1N1-related cases among the student
and faculty bodies. While classes have not been suspended,
certain weekend activities were canceled and the school
underwent a total facility cleansing over the weekend of
21-22 November. ISL families have received a letter
preparing parents for the possible closure of the school if
absenteeism rates continue to climb, particularly among the
teaching population. ISL is emphasizing that the symptoms
exhibited at the school match those of both the H1N1 and
seasonal flus. Many Embassy community children attend the
ISL, and, while the relationship is not of one direct U.S.
sponsorship, Post is represented at ISL Board meetings.

3. (SBU) While Post's analysis is that the GoL is indeed
prepared to handle any H1N1-related pandemic inside
Luxembourg's borders, the government appears to be wary of an
edgy population. Aside from announcing the nationwide
vaccination program, the Health Ministry has been nearly
silent on the subject. In fact, the Health Ministry's
National Health Institute only reports total cases per week,
with no aggregate count. Post had to sift through several
layers of bureaucracy at the Health Ministry before a
physician would provide the total estimate noted above.
While the GoL is equipped - medically - for a possible
outbreak, it does not appear ready to face a scared public
that could resort to panic if numbers skyrocket.

VIA

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