Philippines reports Asia's first death related to H1N1

MANILA Mon Jun 22, 2009 4:18am EDT

MANILA (Reuters) - A 49-year-old Filipina with heart and liver ailments has died after contracting the new flu virus, the first such death in Asia, health officials in Manila said on Monday.

The woman died at her home on June 19, two days after she first showed symptoms of the new influenza A(H1N1) virus, Philippine Health Secretary Francisco Duque told reporters.

"A throat swab revealed that she was positive for A(H1N1)," Duque said, adding that post-autopsy findings disclosed that the death was caused by congestive heart failure and "aggravated by severe pneumonia either bacterial, viral or both."

The Philippines has the highest number of cases of the new flu virus in Southeast Asia with 445 victims, but more than 80 percent have fully recovered since the first case was reported on May 21.

About 20 state and private schools have suspended classes for 10 days since two weeks ago after some students were confirmed to have contracted the virus after trips to some of the affected countries, such as United States, Canada, Japan, China and Hong Kong.

Duque said the health department was revising measures to stop the spread of the disease, focusing on more vulnerable people such as pregnant women, the very young and elderly and those with underlying diseases, such as diabetes, tuberculosis, kidney and liver ailments and people with HIV/AIDS.

(Reporting by Manny Mogato; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)

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