JIS News

The Ministry of Health is advising persons who are at high risk for complications from Influenza A(H1N1) to pay special attention to their health and visit their healthcare provider immediately if they experience flu-like symptoms. These persons include pregnant women, persons with chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, obesity, asthma, heart disease or any condition that impairs the immune system, children under five years old and persons over 65 years.
“We are particularly concerned about pregnant women who we have to ensure that we give Tamiflu as soon as they present with flu-like symptoms. We want them to visit the doctor even if they have mild symptoms so that we can initiate treatment early to reduce the likelihood of complications and speed up recovery,” says Dr. Marion Bullock DuCasse, Director of Emergency Disaster Management and Special Services in the Ministry.
Dr. Bullock DuCasse says persons should continue to observe good hygiene practices including washing hands frequently with soap and water or using an alcohol based hand sanitizer and covering nose and mouth when sneezing and coughing. She however warns that the hand sanitizer should not be used to replace hand washing but only to supplement it.
“Observing good hygiene practices is the best way to reduce the spread of germs. This is even more important as we are currently seeing an increase in the number of influenza like illness and we expect a second wave of the disease,” she said.
Individuals should also stay away from others who have symptoms of flu-like illness and stay home if they are ill for the period of illness and for at least 24 hours after fever has gone without the use of fever reducers. However, medical attention should be sought if symptoms persist, get worse or if persons fall within the high risk group for complications.
Jamaica now has one hundred and thirty three (133) laboratory confirmed cases of Influenza A(H1N1) and five (5) deaths. For more information, persons may call the Ministry’s toll free line at 1-888-ONE LOVE (1-888-663-5683) or contact their parish health department.

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