Puerto Rican Health Department Secretary Ana Ríus declared a influenza epidemic on the island last week due to the island experiencing a rapid increase in cases nearing 10,000, according to a Yahoo Noticias report (computer translated).

This is a 3-dimensional illustration showing the different features of an influenza virus, including the surface proteins hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA)/CDC
This is a 3-dimensional illustration showing the different features of an influenza virus, including the surface proteins hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA)/CDC

To date, 9,591 cases have been reported this season. “As of last season, there have been 9,591 cases of influenza on the island, and we have had a steady increase in cases of influenza and hospitalizations for four weeks”, she said.

“At the moment preliminary numbers of the vaccination record indicate that around 180,544 people have been vaccinated at the island level so far this year (2016-2017). Vaccination is the most effective prevention measure we have,” Rius said.

The administrative order includes a moratorium on pharmacies so they can vaccinate children over seven years and price freezes on products such as personal disinfection items, household disinfectants, antibacterial soaps, and certain medications.

Dr. Ríus reminds parents to take their children to get vaccinated because it is the best way to protect them.

In addition, pregnant women, people over 65 years of age, and people with conditions such as asthma, diabetes, obesity, cancer, lung or heart disease, renal or hepatic failure, and immunocompromised patients should also be protected.

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