H1N1 outbreak possible

luigimarshall, luigimarshall@nationnews.com

Added 27 April 2011

h1n1

The Caribbean Epidemiology Centre (CAREC) has warned that there is a possibility of an outbreak of Influenza A (H1N1) 2009.  Consequently, the Centre has recommended that countries in the Caribbean region reactivate their National Preparedness Plans for the pandemic. This recommendation is based on the occurrence of sporadic outbreaks reported in countries in the Americas since the beginning of this year. Currently, there is no outbreak in Barbados or cause for alarm. However, the Ministry of Health has advised the public to continue to practise proper hygienic measures. These include frequent hand washing and the covering of the nose and mouth with a disposable tissue when coughing or sneezing.   In the event that there are cases of Influenza A (H1N1) 2009 here in Barbados, it is expected that the large majority of infections would be without symptoms or present non-specific symptoms; and only a fraction of those affected would develop a medical case that requires medical assistance.  Persons who were experiencing fever, cough or sore throat should stay away from school or work until they are fever free for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever reducing medication.   The Ministry of Health has, however, emphasised that persons who are susceptible to developing severe infection especially pregnant women, persons with asthma and other lung conditions, heart disease, diabetes, obesity and impairment of the immune system, should seek prompt medical attention.   The Ministry of Health will continue to monitor the situation and will give regular updates as warranted. (BGIS)

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