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DOH eyes new pathogens as flu-like cases spike

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) is on alert for possible new pathogens amid an increase in cases of influenza-like illnesses (ILI) nationwide.

In a television interview, Health Undersecretary Eric Tayag said DOH facilities are taking samples from patients with flu-like symptoms to identify the virus that caused the illness.

“We are doing this because we are on a watch-out for new pathogens,” Tayag reported yesterday.

Experts have confirmed several cases were due to COVID, influenza A or influenza B, Tayag said.

Since the start of the year, the DOH has observed a significant increase in ILI. Of the more than 119,000 ILI cases, half were children.?

Tayag said the DOH is concerned over the rising cases of respiratory infections in China.

The World Health Organization reported the cases as “undiagnosed pneumonia.”

The DOH is scaling up vaccination against influenza and pneumonia to avert a further rise in cases, Tayag said.

In a separate television interview, infectious disease specialist Dr. Rontgene Solante advised the public to continue taking preventive measures against ILI.?

Solante noted that other countries, not just China, are experiencing a rise in respiratory diseases.