San José, Costa Rica, since 1956
Health matters

AH1N1 virus blamed for 7 deaths in Costa Rica this month

At least seven people have died this month in Costa Rica from the AH1N1 virus, the president of the Social Security System, or Caja, said Wednesday.

María del Rocío Sáenz said five victims of the virus died at the San Carlos Hospital in northern Alajuela province, and two died at the Max Peralta Hospital in Cartago.

Sáenz said the deaths cannot be described as an outbreak since the cases weren’t concentrated in a single area.

Another 30 patients are being treated for respiratory problems and are waiting for test results to confirm whether they carry the virus. Most of them are at hospitals in San Carlos and Liberia, but some patients are also hospitalized in Cartago, Alajuela and at San Juan de Dios Hospital in San José.

Scammers alert

Caja officials also said Wednesday that they are not conducting any door-to-door vaccination campaign against the AH1N1 virus. The public health agency has received inquiries from the public about a group of five people reportedly showing up at homes claiming to be Caja officials offering free vaccines. Once inside, the imposters allegedly rob the houses.

The Caja conducted its annual flu vaccination campaign between April and June. The agency this year applied a total of 710,000 doses, representing an investment of $3 million, the agency reported.

Currently vaccines are only available at private pharmacies where prices range from ₡10,000-₡12,000 ($18-$22).

Contact L. Arias at larias@ticotimes.net

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