JIS News

Jamaica is the 53rd country to report the Influenza A (H1N1) virus, following the two confirmations on May 29.
Minister of Health, Hon. Rudyard Spencer, told journalists at a media briefing at Jamaica House on Monday (June 1) that both persons who were confirmed had recently travelled to the United States, which has reported 7,927 cases with 11 deaths, as at May 29.
Both cases were confirmed in the results of tests conducted on 362 samples collected in 129 suspected cases. The samples taken included persons who travelled on the two flights on which the confirmed cases arrived in the island May 18 to 19.
“We have 70 results, of which 13 were positive for seasonal influenza, and two for the new Influenza A (H1N1),” the Minister reported.
Results are being collated for the remaining 233 samples, which were taken within the routine surveillance.
“Insofar as the manifests (of the flights) are concerned, we have (them), and we have checked some of those people. But, we want to do something more thorough, and we will be reporting on it,” he noted.
As at May 31, the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) reported some 16,000 cases, inclusive of 115 deaths, in the 22 countries of North, Central and South America, and the Caribbean.
Mr. Spencer said that, consequent on the global outbreak, the Ministry had been working closely with PAHO, the World Health Organisation (WHO), and the Caribbean Epidemiology Centre (CAREC), to ensure that Jamaica’s response meets international standards.
While pointing out that a vaccine for the flu is currently being developed, Mr. Spencer said it is likely to take at least another four months to be completed.
“We have a stockpile of antivirals, which have been found to reduce the severity of the current disease, and 3,500 doses of Tamiflu have been provided through PAHO,” he stated.

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