Health ministry issues warning as swine flu spreads
The Ministry of Health is appealing to persons who fall within the high-risk groups for severe complications to seek treatment early if they experience symptoms of Influenza infection.
This comes as the country recorded its fourth Influenza A(H1N1) associated death. The latest patient is a pregnant woman who had other illnesses, including lung related complications.
Chief Medical Officer Dr. Winston De La Haye advises that persons with other illnesses usually experience more severe symptoms of Influenza A(H1N1) which can lead to a worsening of their pre-existing condition.
To date, four persons have died, all of whom had severe complications including heart and lung related illnesses.
“Patients in the high risk groups usually have other illnesses made worse by the infection or a compromised immune system. We generally see the greatest effects in persons with non-communicable diseases such as heart and lung related illnesses and respiratory diseases such as asthma,” De La Haye said.
He says it is important that treatment for these persons is initiated early so that there is a greater chance of recovery.
“I am appealing to persons in the high risk group including pregnant women, young children, the elderly, those with non-communicable diseases and any illness or undergoing treatment that weakens the immune system to seek medical help as soon as they begin to notice symptoms,” he said.
Influenza presents with symptoms including fever, sore throat, cough, stuffy nose, headache and body aches and fatigue. Nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea may also be experienced.
Since January, the Ministry of Health has confirmed 28 cases of Influenza A(H1N1). The death of any person who had any of the associated conditions of the flu is recorded as an H1N1 death.
The Centre for Disease Control’s National Centre for Health Statistics estimates that 56,979 persons die each year from influenza and pneumonia associated complications.
Individuals who wish to obtain more information may call the Ministry of Health or the nearest health centre. Persons may also visit the ministry's website at moh.gov.jm and like and follow us on www.facebook.com/themohgovjm; https://twitter.com/themohgovjm; https://instagram.com/themohgovjm.