As of 7 January 2010
Spread and severity of H1N1 Influenza:
The Emergency Response Level (as of October 30/2009) under the Government's Protocol to Prevent Influenza Pandemic is activated. As per government update on December 8, 2009, there have been 1,170 confirmed cases of H1N1 influenza since the first case was diagnosed on May 5, 2009, 18 deaths had been reported out of the mentioned cases.
Government response before a possible H1N1 pandemic, was to alert all medical centers of any type and size on how to proceed with those cases reported to be infected with H1N1. A campaign was set to inform citizens on how to reduce possible spread of the disease. There is currently a concerted coordination within all municipalities where all data gathered are reported to the Health Ministry.
At airports and any sea or land border entries there are check points where medical staff checks travelers to contain possible spreading of the H1N1 virus. Any traveler that shows symptoms of flu are taken into an observation area to make sure they are not H1N1 infected. Temperature checking devise though are only present at the airport.
Business and community reaction:
After some few confirmed cases of H1N1 in Guatemala, companies encouraged their staff to stay home if they feel any flu symptoms, to avoid possible spread of virus in the office. Staffs were also encouraged to visit a doctor, a clinic or hospital for check up. Antibacterial gels became a must on most establishments.
Schools suspended classes after some confirmed cases on H1N1 are detected in their premises. For both public and private schools, classes were suspended until there is a clear review from the school board that a possible outbreak is contained. Currently, majority of schools are on holiday break.
After widespread media coverage of the virus and government's effort to boost public awareness and possible prevention, there was a positive response from the community. Most preventive and hygienic supplies like mask, antibacterial gel, disinfectant wipes and others run out of stocks at stores and pharmacies during the pandemic. Although there is high awareness in major cities and urban communities it is not that high on some isolated rural areas. Government and other NGOs are doing best effort to educate and increase awareness in these areas.
Travel advisory by local authorities:
Ministry of Health and Foreign Affairs Ministry have encouraged travelers to follow local hygiene measures and those implemented at the destination country. There is no current ban on travels to any country related to H1N1 issue. There are measures though on airports to prevent entries of possible traveler with flu symptoms, like thermographic camera and medical check up at site.