Director of Sector Public Health Jorien Lucas-Wuite announced on Thursday evening that she has been informed about a probable case of Influenza A (H1N1) Virus in a lady who recently traveled from Florida to the island. The woman is currently hospitalized in the hospital on the French side.
Confirmation whether it’s Influenza A (H1N1) Virus will be made on Friday by the French side health authorities.
Additional information will be released on Friday as it becomes available. The Preventive Health Department intensified surveillance for unusual outbreaks of influenza-like illness and severe pneumonia two weeks ago.
An information session was organized this week at the Princess Juliana International Airport with representatives from various airlines. The Preventive Health Department has stepped up its preparedness activities by organizing information and instruction sessions with nurses as well as the drafting of agreements related to sample testing on the French side along with intensified cooperation with the former.
Included are improved stockpile protocols and arrangements with pharmacies and the availability of information for all passengers at the airport. The latter is being facilitated through an effective partnership with airport officials and immigration authorities.
The present Influenza A (H1N1) virus is a new virus sub type of influenza affecting humans, which contains segments of genes from pig, bird and human influenza viruses in a combination that has never been observed before anywhere in the world.
Preparations on the island to deal with any outbreak of Influenza A (H1N1) Virus are continuing.
Residents are being advised to continue to maintain high standards of hygiene in order to avoid getting the flu virus. At this moment, there are no cases of the Influenza A (H1N1) virus on the island.
There are everyday actions that can help prevent the spread of germs that cause respiratory illnesses like influenza. Take these everyday steps to protect your health: Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it. Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way. Try to avoid contact with sick people.
The symptoms of Influenza A (H1N1) flu virus in people are similar to the symptoms of regular human flu and include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people have reported diarrhea and vomiting associated with the virus.
Persons who have flu-like-illness should remain at home and contact their family physician via telephone who will determine whether influenza testing or treatment is needed. For people developing symptoms following international travel should follow the same procedure. People who are ill are recommended to postpone travel.
Most cases of influenza A (H1N1) so far reported around the world appear to be mild. There is currently no vaccine for the new strain of flu but severe cases can be treated with antiviral medication.
Persons seeking additional information should contact Sector Public Health at telephone numbers: 542-3003 or 542-3553 or visit the following websites: www.cdc.gov/swineflu or www.who.int. for more information on Influenza A(H1N1) virus also referred to as swine flu.