Commissioner of Public Health Maria Buncamper-Molanus says she is confident that a vaccine for Influenza A (H1N1) also commonly known as swine flu, will be available within six-months.
Commissioner Buncamper added that the Island Government will be securing a certain amount of the vaccine when this becomes available.
The number of Influenza A (H1N1) infections continues to climb and is near 10,000 in 40 countries around the world. The United Nations (UN) health agency, the World Health Organization (WHO), is moving forward with efforts to create a vaccine.
The WHO convened a meeting in Geneva on May 19 with heads of all companies making influenza vaccines to ensure developing countries have fair access to an inoculation against the new flu strain once it is developed.
The WHO continues to maintain a pandemic alert phase 5 level which means the virus is spreading from human to human in communities with outbreaks.
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 if they develop symptoms seven to 10-days after travel. People who are ill are recommended to postpone travel.
The Preventive Health Department has intensified surveillance for unusual outbreaks of influenza-like illness and severe pneumonia.
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).