Doctor first to die from swine flu-related issues, illness now on high alert list
Damion Mitchell and Barbara Gayle, Gleaner Reporters
A female doctor is Jamaica’s first patient with the H1N1 virus (Swine Flu) to have died since the illness was detected here just over two weeks ago.
The doctor, 50-year-old Suzanna Roye, had been admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) after being transferred from Mandeville.
Hospital sources say a second female doctor is also currently in ICU at the UHWI, however, she is responding to treatment.
"It’s very unfortunate, we tried everything we could do in terms of medical care as we do with all patients,” the acting Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr Winston De La Haye told The Gleaner a short while ago.
In the meantime, he said the Health Ministry has now upgraded Swine Flu to a category one illness.
This means that within 24 hours of suspecting a case of severe acute respiratory illness, medical practitioners must report it to the health authority.
Previously, it was regarded as a category two illness, which gave medical practitioners one week to report suspected cases.
"We have stepped it up to high alert," De La Haye said.
He said too that so, far nine swine flu cases have been confirmed in Jamaica.
The cases originated from Mandeville, Montego Bay and Kingston.
The development comes as the Health Ministry reported that there is also an increase in the number of dengue cases.