The Preventive Health Department (PHD) confirms that the island now has its 177th, 18th, 19th, 20th & 21st confirmed cases of Influenza A (H1N1) virus.
Four cases are from one family, an eight-year-old female, an 11-year-old male, a 16-year-old male, and a 36-year-old female, were part of a cluster who attended a family reunion on the French side of the island on August 6. Several members of the family were admitted to the French side hospital on August 7.
The family members who attended the family reunion from the Dutch side reported their symptoms on August 10. Samples were collected on that day and the results were confirmed on August 14.
All four persons have been treated. The 11-year-old was hospitalized at the St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC).
The fifth confirmed case is a 39-year-old female resident who had traveled to New York City and recently returned to the island. The lady in question later developed symptoms and sought medical treatment.
Several samples were taken from persons on August 13 and these results are pending.
The PHD is urging those who travel abroad on vacation or for business, and return with a flu-like-illness to remain at home and contact their family physician immediately. They should not engage in any community activities such as working, shopping or participating in any mass/social activities. This would limit the risk of community spread.
This will help minimize the risk of infecting those around you, especially people who are at a higher risk of severe illness and complications from influenza.
Persons who develop flu-like symptoms a week after returning from a vacation abroad should take the same recommended action as noted above.
Tourists are hereby advised if they develop a flu-like illness while vacationing on the island, to contact the PHD immediately.
The severity of the disease at this point in time remains relatively mild. In the past all confirmed cases have recovered fully.
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 seeking additional information should contact PHD 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.