10-month-old child, adult admitted to UHWI with swine flu
Damion Mitchell & Barbara Gayle, Gleaner Reporters
The University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) is now treating two cases of the influenza A (H1N1) virus commonly called swine flu.
The patients – a 10 month old child and an adult – were transferred to the UHWI today from Mandeville.
According to the World Health Organisation, in some countries, there have been reports of hospitalisations with severe disease associated with H1N1 virus infections.
The WHO says based on its global influenza surveillance, in countries where the virus is predominating, hospitalisation and intensive care unit (ICU) admission patterns seem to be similar to previous seasons when the virus predominated and where young and middle-aged adults experienced severe disease.
Contacted late this evening, Dr Winston De La Haye, the chief medical officer, said the H1NI is a category two illness which means it must be reported to the Health Ministry within a week after being suspected.
He also said before these two cases, the Health Ministry had four other reports.
But according to De La Haye, there is no reason for alarm as the number of cases fall below the threshold which would regard it as an outbreak.
"We are watching it closely," he said.
In the meantime, the chairman of the UHWI, James Moss-Solomon says the UWHI, as a referral hospital for the region, is taking the best care of the patients.
It’s understood that the patients have been isolated in the ICU.
Moss-Solomon also said there should be no cause for alarm.
"There is no stage at the present time that suggests that there is an unusual number of this," Moss-Solomon said.
A hospital source says the patients do not have any recent travel history, which suggests that they contracted the virus locally.
Symptoms of the H1N1 virus