Flu Pandemic Declared in Puerto Rico: First in the U.S. Since 2016

2023-11-12 11:35:50

First flu pandemic declared in U.S. territory since 2016

Entered 2023.11.12 20:35 Views 0 Entered 2023.11.12 20:35 Modified 2023.11.12 17:51 Views 0

A colonial-style building located in the historic district, a famous tourist destination in Puerto Rico. [사진=게티이미지뱅크]Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory in the Caribbean, is suffering from severe flu. Puerto Rico, with a population of 3.3 million, has reported 25,900 flu cases since the flu season began in July. With more than 900 patients hospitalized and more than 42 deaths, the Puerto Rico government eventually declared a flu epidemic. CNN reported on the 10th (hereinafter referred to as local news) that this is the first time a flu epidemic has been declared in the United States since 2016.

Puerto Rico’s Health Minister Carlos Melado López declared a flu epidemic on the 9th, saying, “Now is the time to stop being alarmed and prepare to prevent the spread of this virus. We must do our part, get vaccinated, and protect ourselves.” He encouraged people to get vaccinated against the flu, saying, “If you protect yourself, you will be able to prevent the disease.” The Ministry of Health added that it will soon begin mass vaccination.

Dr. Melissa Marsan, an epidemiologist at Puerto Rico’s Department of Health, said on the 4th that 42 flu deaths have been confirmed this season so far, and the causes of death for nine other deaths are under investigation. He said there have been nearly six times as many cases this flu season than this time last year. “The current flu season is above the alert threshold,” he said.

He explained that several criteria must be met to declare an epidemic. One of them is that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) virus monitoring system must reach a ‘high level’, and the CDC confirmed that Puerto Rico has already exceeded that level.

According to the Ministry of Health, most flu cases are concentrated in children and adolescents. The number of flu patients from newborns to 19 years old is more than 13,600, accounting for more than half of all patients. There were more than 9,600 cases among adults between 20 and 59 years of age, and about 2,500 cases among seniors over 60 years of age.

In Puerto Rico’s 2022-23 flu season, a total of 31,710 patients were reported, with 1,224 hospitalized and 15 deaths.

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