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Six still ill with RSV


by MIKE KING

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ALMOST every ward at the Geriatric Hospital has had an elderly person battling with the Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV).Additional physicians have been seconded to the Beckles Road facility and a doctor is coming on behalf of the Caribbean Epidemiological Centre (CAREC) to assist in dealing with the outbreak.Yesterday, Chief Medical Officer Joy St John said there have been 87 cases since the outbreak three weeks ago, with six persons still ill.Three of those patients are still at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and the other three at the Geriatric Hospital.           “What is happening at the Geriatric Hospital is unique. They [CAREC] need to see what is going on,” said St. John, who added that seven samples of the virus had been sent to CAREC (Trinidad) in the last two days.The virus has affected 15 of the 16 wards, but many patients, including a centenarian, have reportedly recovered.“The number of cases is still a concern, but not as much as before. Many of those who were ill, have recovered. We are concerned though, we are still getting people ill,” she said. St John said surveillance had been done of the private nursing homes and no cases had been reported.Minister of Health, Donville Inniss, told the WEEKEND NATION yesterday that out of an abundance of caution, public visits to the Geriatric Hospital had been suspended.“The entire situation is being monitored. The fact that the matter has been contained thus far is a tribute to the health professisonals in Barbados. The ministry has been vigilant and proactive,” he said.St John said the ailment usually preyed on the very young or the very old.“Over the years, we have had seasonal outbreaks of this virus but typically very young children. On this occasion, it has affected very large numbers of older persons in the geriatric hospital,” she said.Coughing, fever, difficulty in breathing and weakness are the main symptoms.

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