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Ecuador: Continuing to Face the H1N1 Virus

The number of deaths of the AH1N1 flu virus has reached 1300 across Latin America, making it the region around the world most affected by this virus. The Southern hemisphere has especially suffered a rapid spread of the virus, due to the unusually cold winter and in many countries, the cases of the AH1N1 virus have surpassed the number of cases of ordinary flu. Even the countries of the Mercosur recently talked about the issue during their recent summit [es].

Ecuador is one of these countries that have had to face the reality of this virus. According to the latest figures from the Ministry of Public Health [es], up until August 15, there have been 23 deaths and approximately 800 individuals infected by the flu.

Its impact in the country's health centers has remained on a “moderate” level and according to the Ministry of Health, “the demand for medical attention is above normal levels, but still below the maximum capacity for health services.” There have also been preventative measures such as the “temporary suspension [es]” of anti-flu advertisements because a considerable percentage of the deaths were caused by complications from the consumption of these types of medicines without a prescription.

The public's perception towards the government's management and spread of information by the traditional media has been acceptable, such as the opinion of the blog Annyland [es], which writes:

Ya haciendo un análisis de lo que he visto en otro diarios electrónicos nacionales, uno de los que más información e importancia le da al caso de la Influenza es El Universo, así como el Hoy en su página principal existe una opción que la llaman Gripe Porcina. Al contrario del diario El Telégrafo.

En mi opinión los medio en Internet están dando buena información, acerca de la situación de la Influenza AH1N1 en el país, incluso existen muy buenas notas donde se dan recomendaciones, se informa el origen de la enfermedad y la realidad o los sucesos que pasaron otros países con respecto a este tema que ha acogido la atención a nivel mundial.

Making an analysis on what I have seen in other online national newspapers, one of the papers that provides the most information and gives the issue importance is El Universo, and also in the newspaper Hoy they provide an option on the main page that says “Swine Flu.” This is the opposite of what the newspaper El Telégrafo does.

In my opinion, a lot of good information about the situation of the AH1N1 virus in Ecuador is being provided online, there are also good articles that provide recommendations, the origin of the illness and the reality or events taking place in other countries regarding this worldwide topic.

Even Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa was under medical observation after a member of his security team came down with the AH1N1 virus, according to the Vice-Minister of Health, Marcelo Aguilar. However, one cabinet member was confirmed for having the virus.

Blogger and author Raúl Farias of Al Lado del Camino [es] writes about some close calls after returning to Ecuador after spending time in South America:

En Guayaquil, el calor me hizo sentir a salvo hasta hace dos viernes, cuando después de un concierto me encontré con el Ministro Ricardo Patiño y hablé un par de palabras con él sobre unos proyectos (a veces te toca bailar con el diablo). El mismo día mi hermana llegó con los ojos reventados, la garganta inflamada y con malestar de cuerpo. Dos días después me enteré que Patiño era portador de la gripe AH1N1 al igual que el presidente de Costa Rica. La cagada, esta gripe no tiene preferencias, me dije enseguida… Ya han pasado quince días desde el último encuentro con la plaga y no hay síntomas. Si esta es una pandemia al estilo I am legend, donde perecerá una parte importante de la raza humana, después de algunos roces con la enfermedad, creo estar entre los elegidos para salvarse. Eso pienso mientras un moco se me sale de la nariz.

In Guayaquil, the heat made me feel safe up until two Fridays ago, when after a concert, I met up with the government minister Ricardo Patiño, and we talked about some projects (sometimes one needs to dance with the devil.) The same day my sister arrived with her puffy eyes, inflamed throat, and with aches in the body. Two days later, I found out that Patiño was a carrier of the AH1N1 virus, like the president of Costa rica. The bad part of it, is that this flu has no preferences, I told myself later… It's been 15 days since the last meeting with the virus and there are no symptoms. If this is a pandemic, like from the movie ‘I am Legend,” where a large part of the human race perishesm after some brushes with the illness, I think I am among the chosen ones to be saved. This is what I am thinking, meanwhile my nose begins to run.

Thumbnail by Guerry-Monero

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