Costa Rica’s Health Ministry on Wednesday confirmed two new deaths from the AH1N1 flu virus, bringing this year’s total deaths from the virus to 10, all of them in the past two months.
One of the cases was a 59-year-old man from Turrialba, east of the province of Cartago, who died last week at the Calderón Guardia Hospital in San José.
The other one was a woman, 43, who died two weeks ago at the San Ramón Hospital in Alajuela, north of the capital.
In addition to the 10 deaths, health authorities this year have recorded 192 cases of persons treated at public hospitals for the AH1N1 virus. Another 22 people died from other respiratory viruses.
Health Ministry officials said they are not yet considering issuing an emergency alert for the recent spike in cases, but they did call on residents to maintain personal hygiene to prevent the spread of respiratory viruses. Costa Rica’s rainy season, which lasts from May-November, usually brings an increase of these types of illnesses.
Officials also decided not to suspend the traditional Catholic pilgrimage, or Romería, which Ticos make every Aug. 1-2 to the Basílica de Nuestra Señora de los Angeles in the province of Cartago. The event is attended by 1-2 million pilgrims.
In 2009, the Health Ministry suspended the Romería for the first time in more than 200 years.