Posted by: calloftheandes | May 25, 2009

Ecuadorian Hospital Steps Up Vigilance as Flu Cases Surface in Ecuador

Sources: HCJB Global, El Comercio


Ecuador’s Ministry of Health said cases of the influenza virus H1N1 have risen to eight just days after a report of the nation’s first case. The first incidence of the illness was confirmed on Friday, May 15, by Ecuadorian Health Minister Caroline Chang (pictured at left in file photo).

The parents of Adriana Elías, the first person in Ecuador to be diagnosed with the illness, challenged whether their 12-year-old daughter, a student at Colegio Americano in Guayaquil, indeed had the virus. They claimed in a media briefing that she suffered from rinopharynitis, not influenza A (H1N1), commonly referred to as swine flu.

The Health Ministry in Quito responded by apologizing if the family had not received sufficient information on the illness. The ministry’s director general, Carmen Laspina, rejected the parents’ claims that their child suffered from rinopharynitis. She said testing at Izquieta Pérez (Hospital de Infectología) is reliable, and Chang later reconfirmed the diagnosis of the first case by the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control.

The Health Ministry reported that of the newer flu cases, one came as a result of contact with Elías at Colegio Americano. The ministry on Wednesday confirmed seven new cases (six in Guayaquil and one in Quito) of influenza A (H1N1).

To help prevent its spread, previous guidelines and precautions still apply. For example, when news of the flu outbreak in Mexico broke in late April, HCJB Global Hands’ Hospital Vozandes-Quito (below, file photo)  posted “Cover Your Cough” signs to educate patients and visitors about taking basic steps to help prevent the spread of respiratory infections.


At the nearby Alliance Academy International (AAI) in Quito, teachers have been informed of their responsibility and are aware of their role in working to prevent this disease.

“We will be providing disinfectant gel in each classroom and are keeping close communication with the nurses’ office for updates and effective prevention information to be used for our benefit,” said AAI Director David Wells.

Hospital Vozandes-Quito continues to serve as a sentinel site in Ecuador for the detection of the H1N1 virus as well as other emerging strains of influenza. This surveillance is taking place in collaboration with the U.S. Navy Tropical Disease Research Laboratory in Lima, Peru. Chang said hospitals have necessary medical supplies and the antiviral drug Oseltamivir (Tamiflu) for treatment of influenza A (H1N1).

Surcos High School in Quito suspended a trip to the Dominican Republic planned for 20 seniors. The decision complied with a May 5 decree by Ecuador’s Education Ministry to suspend student trips abroad in an effort to avoid the risk of infection.

The basketball and soccer teams of Cotopaxi Academy in Quito also saw the cancellation of travel plans to Trinidad and Tobago. “It’s a measure to safeguard the integrity and well-being of the students,” said the school’s director, William Johnston.


  1. […] support from others, gave me a lot of incentive to push on with the investigation,” he said. As Ecuador’s Ministry of Health establishes research models to learn more about respiratory infections, Chicaiza said he’s […]

  2. Hi, this is a colaboration info health public, i read and consult the
    “Committee on Implementation of Antiviral Medication Strategies for an Influenza Pandemic, Institute of Medicine”,this is a medical textbook that provides a comprehensive overview of epidemic and pandemic influenza (download PDF).

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