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As part of our routine surveillance, the Ministry of Health has been undertaking testing of samples collected from persons who present with flu-like symptoms and all our samples to date have been negative for Influenza A (H1N1) formerly called Swine Flu. This means that there is still no evidence of the virus in Jamaica.
The MOH is however continuing its heightened surveillance and monitoring at the nation’s ports to prevent any possible spread of the Influenza A (H1N1) (Swine Flu) virus in the island.
The Ministry’s Director of Emergency, Disaster Management and Special Services, Dr. Marion Bullock-Ducasse, says persons who have travelled in the past two weeks or have been in contact with anyone from any of the Influenza A (H1N1) affected areas and have flu-like symptoms are to visit their doctor, health centre or hospital immediately.
She says “even if persons have mild symptoms, we still want them to come in to us so that we can test them.”The World Health Organisation is reporting that as of 06:00 GMT, today (May 7, 2009) 23 countries have officially reported 2099 cases of influenza A (H1N1) infection.
Mexico has reported 1112 laboratory confirmed human cases of infection, including 42 deaths. The United States has reported 642 laboratory confirmed human cases, including two deaths.
The remaining 21 countries have reported laboratory confirmed cases with no deaths. They include Austria (1), Canada (201), China, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (1), Colombia (1), Costa Rica (1), Denmark (1), El Salvador (2), France (5), Germany (9), Guatemala (1), Ireland (1), Israel (4), Italy (5), Netherlands (1), New Zealand (5), Portugal (1), Republic of Korea (2), Spain (73), Sweden (1), Switzerland (1) and the United Kingdom (28).
In light of the rapid spread in other countries, persons are being advised to take all the necessary precautions to prevent any possible influenza virus infection.
These include frequent hand washing with soap and water, covering mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing, avoiding contact with persons with flu-like symptoms and avoiding intimate contact including hand shaking, kissing and hugging.
The public can also call the Ministry of Health’s toll free line at 1-888-663-5683 to get information on the Influenza A (H1N1) virus.
Influenza A (H1N1) is a respiratory illness that is caused by the Influenza A virus. It is transmitted by human to human contact. The symptoms include fever, sore throat, cough, stuffy nose, headache and body aches and fatigue. Nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea may also be experienced.