Friday, July 31, 2009

AH1N1 deaths keep climbing in Costa Rica

(Inside Costa Rica) - A 60-year-old woman has become the 22nd death from the AH1N1 virus in Costa Rica, while the Health Ministry investigates the death of a 25-year-old man, which could become death number 23.

The health minister, Maria Luisa Avila, explained the woman was asthmatic and suffered from heart problems. Avila said the woman had been in isolation in the intensive care unit of a San Jose hospital but did not disclose which hospital.

An anonymous source to Inside Costa Rica says the woman was at the Hospital Mexico, where a number of deaths suspected of the AH1N1 virus are being investigated.

The death of the 25-year-old man is being investigated as the man was very obese and displayed many of the symptoms of the virus before his death on Tuesday.

The number of cases and suspected cases of the virus is taxing the ability of the health system to properly deal with the pandemic.

For instance, the San Isidro de Heredia Clinic is at full capacity and does not have adequate space to handle the influx of people.

Ana Virginia Leal, director of the clinic, said that last week they had to use the gymnasium of the local school located in front of the clinic. The school was closed last week due to the extended mid year school vacation period.

The health minister confirmed that the school had been used as a makeshift clinic until the school principal asked them to leave.

However, Avila, explained that people in San Isidro are now being more aware of the virus. She said the number of people arriving at the clinic in Heredia is now 20 a day, half of the 40 daily they had been receiving over the past several weeks.

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