Acting Chief Medical Officer at the Ministry of Health, Dr Winston De La Haye has confirmed that nine cases of the H1N1 influenza virus, more commonly called Swine Flu, is currently being treated at the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI) in Kingston.
Speaking to OBSERVER ONLINE on Thursday, Dr De La Haye revealed that the confirmed cases are not from any particular geographic area, and that the cases include referrals from other parishes.
“It is a tertiary referral hospital so you have cases which may be a little more severe than others, normally they would be referred to somewhere like the University Hospital,” he said.
On Monday, H1N1 influenza virus was adjusted to a class one reporting index, which means a report must be made within 24 hours if a patient is suspected to have contracted the virus.
“Until this Monday, all respiratory tract infections including H1N1, were class two, so we were getting a delay in reporting, which was normal based on the class two,” Dr De La Haye explained. “When we were at five reports, I met with my directors at the Ministry of Health and we have implemented a number of measures in order to step up the surveillance, which is what is expected though the figures are below the threshold.”
The acting chief medical officer insisted that the ministry is making every effort to work with the media to inform and educate people on developments concerning the virus.
He went on to state that the ministry would consider all confirmed cases of the virus as “stable”, as there have been no reports of deaths as a result of the virus to date.
While speaking to OBSERVER ONLINE, Dr De La Haye encouraged people to consult a physician if they notice symptoms, which include cough, fever, sore throat, stuffy or runny nose, body aches, headache, chills, and fatigue.
“If you are having a cough and cold and not getting well, please visit a physician,” he advised. ”Don’t go to work, and stay home.”
He went to state that while it is the flu season and the majority of cases are the common cold and flu, persons are to consult a physician if they recognise symptoms becoming severe.