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H1N1 influenza infecting at mass epidemic rate

Date Posted: 2009-08-27

Doctors in Naha City Hospital are visiting more than 200 patients each day, and patients are lined up for 3-4 hours waiting for examinations in emergency rooms as the H1N1 influenza gathers momentum in Okinawa.

There aren’t enough doctors to see and treat patients, says the Naha City Doctors Association, which is seeking help from private hospitals. An official says private hospitals, which are closed on weekend, may be able to lend relief to overworked doctors in the public sector, who are getting too tired from working too many hours and too many cases. The worst is yet to come, they say, as doctors forecast increasingly larger numbers of patients.

The Prefecture Health Center says more than 315 facilities are dealing with the influenza on a mass epidemic basis. Through last week, one patient has died on Okinawa and another three are on respirators in serious condition. Doctors say they’ve been giving influenza medications to the three, but that they are not responding.

Public health officials are warning the general public to be more careful of health issues, wearing a mask when going out and gargling well using an antiseptic solution when returning from outside. Officials caution people to avoid large, crowded areas.

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