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5/20/2013

Man dies of flu-like illness

Filed under: cnmi,disease/health — admin @ 11:44 am

THE Commonwealth Health Center saved the lives of two pregnant women and their babies from adult respiratory distress syndrome, or ARDS, but a man died of the flu-like illness.

Commonwealth Health Care Corp. chief executive officer Esther Muna, in a press conference yesterday, said they wanted to make it clear that there was no influenza outbreak in the CNMI.

ARDS, according to CHC federal consultant Dr. Poki Namkung, is a devastating condition that is related to many causes including severe pneumonia.

In the three cases admitted at CHC, Namkung said they didn’t make a definitive finding although many tests were conducted. The influenza tests are negative so far but the hospital is doing further tests, she added.

Namkung admitted that they have not found a bacterial source yet but added that ARDS can be caused by chemical, bacterial or viral causes. She said ARDS destroys the ability of the lungs to function and the mortality rate in such cases is very high.

She said it was a blessing that the women are now improving despite that fact that both of them were pregnant when they were admitted.

Muna said one of the women was admitted on May 13, while the other was admitted on May 16.

The third case, a middle-aged man, was admitted on May 14 and died on May 17.

Muna said “the cause of death is unknown at this time” but the patient had a flu-like illness and was admitted at CHC for severe respiratory illnesses.

Muna said there was no link between the three cases.

“We would like the public to know that we are very, very concerned about the situation and we are working extremely hard and have done an exceptional job in attending to the patients,” she said.

Muna said there is no evidence of H7N9 infection in the three cases, but the U.S. Centers for Disease Control is asking for further testing. CHC, she added, is in constant communication with the federal agency.

Nurse supervisor Wilma Gamundoy said when the two pregnant were admitted they had to “evacuate” the babies in the wombs so they could treat the mothers. The babies were delivered through Caesarian-section. The infants had to be put on ventilators at first but were finally taken off yesterday. The mothers, too, are now improving, Gamundoy said.

Muna is urging the public to take extra precautions.

The symptoms of ARDS include fever, coughing and difficulty in breathing.

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