Costa Rica’s Health Ministry on Wednesday confirmed the eighth death this year from the AH1N1 influenza virus.
The latest cases were patients at Hospital México in the capital who died this week after suffering respiratory complications caused by the virus.
The first victim, a 33-year-old woman from the south-central Pacific port of Quepos, died on Monday. On Tuesday, a 58-year-old woman died at the same hospital.
According to Health Ministry records, another 19 people have died in the country this year from other respiratory viruses.
The San Juan de Dios Hospital, also in the capital, currently has four patients who tested positive for the AH1N1 virus, and two other cases are being tested to confirm the disease. Hospitals outside the capital activated security protocols due to the recent increase in cases.
Respiratory viruses are keeping hospitals busy throughout the country, boosted mainly by the beginning of the rainy season, which in Costa Rica runs from May to November.
Health Ministry officials so far have not ordered the suspension of major public events as occurred in 2009, when for the first time in more than 200 years they cancelled the traditional pilgrimage Ticos make every Aug. 2 to the Basílica de Nuestra Señora de los Angeles in the province of Cartago, usually attended by more than 1 million Catholics.