One death in four cases of flu
The Ministry of Health has confirmed one death out of four cases of influenza A H1N1 in Barbados.
News of this comes after results from the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) in Trinidad, which tested 10 samples sent there last week. The other six samples were negative for the H1N1 virus.
According to Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Elizabeth Ferdinand, the best way to reduce transmission of the virus is by practising good respiratory hygiene measures.
“Keep disposable tissue handy, so that you can cover your nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing, or use your elbow. Used tissue should be discarded in a covered garbage can or placed in a plastic bag. Frequent and proper hand-washing is essential and we should avoid touching our eyes, nose or mouth as germs can enter our body this way,” Ferdinand said.
She advised people who might have flu-like symptoms (i.e. fever, coughing and a sore throat) to avoid being out in public and to stay away from work or school until fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication. If the symptoms persisted and worsened, she suggested, then these people should visit their doctor or polyclinic.
The acting CMO stressed that sick children “must not be sent to day care”. She said that people in higher risk categories – pregnant people, children under five years of age, people over 65 years of age, and those with chronic medical conditions, including asthma and other lung conditions, sickle cell anaemia, heart disease, diabetes and any other condition which might weaken the immune system – should seek medical attention at the onset of the symptoms.
Ferdinand also indicated that the country had adequate supplies of Tamiflu, which is recommended for people in high risk groups and those who needed hospitalization.
In addition, the Ministry of Health is expecting a shipment of the seasonal influenza vaccine today. This vaccine contains the H1N1 virus and will be offered to frontline workers in the public sector and people in high risk groups. (BGIS)