Bogota raises alarm over child respiratory illness

Bogota’s Health Secretary has called for greater vigilance in the city’s health centers, after it detected a 30% spike in deaths of children suffering from Acute Respiratory Infections (ARI) this year.

The secretary said 32 children had died in 2012, with only 23 deaths from ARI throughout 2011.

Public and private health care centres were advised to pay particularly close attention to children under the age of five with signs of respiratory illness.

Inpatient pediatric services and intensive care units have experienced a rise in demand for treatment of ARI, which has slowed its effective delivery. The ministry said influenza viruses A and B were largely to blame for the deaths and that similar spikes had been seen in previous years.

“We are confident of the high commitment of the general medical community, pediatricians and specialists, nurses, and support staff in the city of Bogota around this epidemiological alert,” said District Secretary of Health Guillermo Alfonso Jaramillo Martinez.

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