St Vincent confirms six cases of swine flu

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent, Wednesday September 25, 2013 CMC – The Trinidad-based Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) has confirmed six cases of the “Influenza A H1N1 Pandemic 09” in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, according to a statement issued by Chief Medical officer, Simon Keizer.

Last week, classes at the Troumaca Secondary School were suspended after the Ministry of Health confirmed that it had become aware that the largest number of patients seeking medical attention for an “acute illness” in the Chateaubelair health district had been from the school. Classes resumed on Monday.

The statement by the health official, said that to date there were 48 reported cases of this “influenza- like illness”.

“All clients have been treated and discharged,” it said, adding that the respiratory virus is treated symptomatically.

“Persons are, therefore, asked to seek medical care from their district medical officer if they present with sore throat, runny nose, elevated temperature or any associated symptoms. Persons are also asked to practice social distancing in the event that they become ill, that is, to refrain from attending school or work if ill”

The Ministry of Health said that it would continue “active surveillance throughout St. Vincent and the Grenadines” and that persons are asked to continue increased hygienic practices by covering mouth with a tissue or handkerchief if sneezing or coughing.

“Hand washing is imperative in reducing the risk of transmission of the virus,” the release said.

The “Influenza A H1N1 Pandemic 09” is a specific strain of the virus that became a global epidemic in 2009 and was commonly referred to as “swine flu”.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) describes the strand of the virus as “an influenza virus that had never been identified as a cause of infections in people before the current (2009) H1N1 pandemic”.

WHO, in a publication on its website, said genetic analyses of this virus have shown that it originated from animal influenza viruses and is unrelated to the human seasonal H1N1 viruses that have been in general circulation among people since 1977.

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