Portugal Swine Flu cases  reach 57

Another case of the potentially deadly Swine Flu was registered in Portugal over the weekend.

It brings the total number of cases of Influenza Virus A (H1N1) on mainland Portugal to 57 according to the latest data from the Ministry of Health.

According to a statement issued by the office of Portuguese Health Minister, Ana Jorge, the latest case involves a two-year-old boy from Mexico who was admitted to Lisbon’s Dona Estefânia Hospital on Saturday.

Portugal’s 57 cases, still one of the lowest infection rates in Europe so far, have been registered since the beginning of May, but last week saw the biggest increases in cases jumping up from nine to 48.

Despite this, the health minister said there was “no reason for alarm” but that people and health professionals should be “on the alert.”

Two of the cases were as a direct result of patient to patient transmission within Portugal, leading experts in epidemiology to state that a large-scale outbreak is almost inevitable in Portugal by the autumn.

The Ministry of Health is maintaining its policy of containing the spread of the virus through preventative measures such as frequently washing hands, throwing away tissues after use and, if unwell, staying at home and contacting the helpline Saúde 24 on 808 242 424.

Portuguese-speaking readers should follow the advice posted on the ministry’s website www.dgs.pt in the event of a suspected case of flu.

Faro hospital joins national flu network

Faro hospital is to become part of the national network of hospitals that receives patients infected with the H1N1 flu virus.

According to Portugal’s health minister Ana Jorge, the virus could easily be contracted in the Algarve because it is a region with a high number of tourists, especially people visiting from foreign countries.

The measure is also aimed at reducing the inconvenience of patients who would otherwise have to be transported to a hospital in Lisbon.

Faro hospital will be joining two Lisbon hospitals, Curry Cabral and Estefânia, São João hospital in Porto and HUC in Coimbra, which are all set up to cater for patients with the illness.

“This is not a situation for alarm,” said Ana Jorge, “it is a situation to maintain the containment measures.”