The first case of H1N1 flu has been reported on St. Maarten, and the public is urged to use preventative measures to combat the illness.
On June 12, 2009, Sector Public Health, Social Development and Labor received a call from a family physician indicating that a person departed the island on June 6th 2009 and is quarantine in Japan on June 11th 2009 is confirmed with H1N1.
Based on this report and a number of flu cases on the AUC (American University of the Caribbean) premises, the Preventive Health department executed a follow-up, whereby a team of registered nurses visited the university to identify persons who had flu-like symptoms and who have had contact with the confirmed case of H1N1 and/or who have traveled in the past 7 to 10 days. During this follow-up, one sample was collected and sent to Rotterdam. The person was advised to remain at home.
On June 16th the National Epidemiologist Dr. Izzy Gertzenbluth reported to the Director of Sector Public Health, Social Development and Labor that the sample is confirmed. The patient and her room mate received Tami-flu. At this point in time, the AUC will remain open.
The Preventive Health Department continues to monitor the development of the situation at American University of the Caribbean.
The Preventive Health Department urges persons, who are experiencing flu-like symptoms and have traveled to or arrived from countries other than Mexico and the USA within 7-10 days, or has had contact with a confirmed H1N1 patient to stay at home and call their physician or the Preventive Health Department at 5422078 or 5423003 or 5204523. Visit the following websites: www.cdc.gov/swineflu or www.who.int for more information on Influenza A (H1N1) virus.
The Netherlands Antilles has expanded the case definition to include the USA as well as Mexico or who has had contact with a confirmed H1N1 patient.
A suspected case of H1N1 is defined as a fever and respiratory illness (ARI) case with recent travel to an affected area (for the Dutch Side it is Mexico and the United States of America). Who have had contact with a confirmed H1N1 case or had close contact with a person with a history of travel to an affected area within 7-10 days of onset of symptoms.
Case of Influenza A (H1N1)
Person with acute lower respiratory tract illness of abrupt onset, characterized by:
• fever (temperature >38 C); and
• sore throat; and
• cough; and/or
• dyspnoea (difficult or labored breathing);
AND one or more of the following:
a) Recent travel to Mexico or the United States (within seven days prior to the onset of symptoms);
b) Having been in contact within seven days prior to the onset of symptoms with
person(s) suspected or confirmed with Novel Influenza A (H1N1).
It is advisable to immediately implement preventive measures at your establishment such as:
1. Washing hands. Washing hands often help protect a person from germs. Wash with soap and water or clean with alcohol-based hand cleaner/sanitizer. It is recommended that when you wash your hands with soap and warm water for 15 to 20 seconds.
2. Persons should cover their mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
3. Dispose used tissue properly in the waste baskets and wash hands thereafter.
4. Frequently disinfect hard useable surfaces such as door knobs, counter tops, desks, phones etc.
5. Provide napkins, hand sanitizers on a regular basis for your staff and clientele.
6. Avoid close contact with sick persons diagnosed with H1N1.
7. Persons who have flu-like symptoms and have traveled in the last 7 to 10 days should stay at home and immediately contact their general practitioner/physician or the Public Health Department.
8. Diagnosed person should stay indoors and protect his/her family & colleagues.