Swine flu still killing in Jamaica

Public urged to protect themselves

Jamaica Observer

Thursday, May 26, 2011

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WITH the most recent death occurring on Sunday, the Ministry of Health is urging members of the public to protect themselves against the Influenza A(H1N1) virus, also known as 'swine flu'.

There have been two recorded deaths from swine flu so far in Jamaica this year. A female patient who was confirmed with the illness died at the University Hospital of the West Indies on Sunday. In January a male patient died at the Kingston Public Hospital. As at May 21, 2011 there have been eight confirmed cases of the A(H1N1) virus among a total of 42 influenza cases so far this year.

The Caribbean remains in the post-pandemic phase, which means that swine flu has taken on a behaviour and intensity similar to that of regular seasonal influenza viruses. It also means that in the coming years there could be sustained community transmission and localised outbreaks of the disease.

"A number of Influenza viruses are currently in circulation as we are still in the flu season. We therefore continue to urge persons to wash their hands regularly and properly with soap and water or use an alcohol based hand sanitiser, cover their nose and mouth when sneezing and coughing and importantly ensure that their children are taught these practices. Persons should also stay home if they are ill so as not to spread the illness to others," said Dr Marion Bullock DuCasse, emergency director at the health ministry.

For more information, persons may call the Ministry‚s toll free line at 1-888-ONE LOVE (1-888-663-5683) or contact their parish health department.

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