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Stay home if you have the flu

Sunday, October 6 2013

ANY student exhibiting flu-like symptoms are warned to stay away from classes tomorrow in light of the three confirmed cases of swine flu at the San Fernando General Hospital.

Acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO)of the South-West Regional Health Authority (SWRHA), Dr Shivan Gopeesingh, issued the warning yesterday saying it was to prevent the spread of the virus.

“It is contagious and can be passed from one person to another. Students should stay away from classes until the fever subsides. They should wash their hands, use hand sanitisers before they eat and touch their faces,” Gopeesingh advised.

SWRHA has confirmed that of the three confirmed cases of swine flu, one of the victims died from complications arising out of the viral infection at the San Fernando General Hospital (SWRHA).

Gopeesingh said the person who died had died from pneumonia due to complications from the virus. He said the two other persons, one 40-plus years old and the other 50-plus, remain warded at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU), having exhibited symptoms consistent with swine flu, “We have two cases and one is a 40-something-year-old male who is about 400 pounds. He is diabetic and hypertensive. The other is over 50 years old and is on cancer drugs. Both are in ICU,” he said. A tent has since been erected outside the Accident and Emergency Ward of the hospital for screening members of the public.

“The tents are still outside the A&E department. There is a special ward we want to identify, an isolation area. We are working on that and are looking to find a space,” Gopeesingh said yesterday. He also said there was a separate area designated for schoolchildren. He said the tents would remain operational as long as the H1N1 outbreak continues.

Gopeesingh said there was no influx of patients seeking medical attention yesterday. Medical experts say swine flu in humans is most contagious during the first five days of the illness, although some people, most commonly children, can remain contagious for up to ten days. Diagnosis can be made by sending a specimen, collected during the first five days, for analysis.

Recommendations to prevent spread of the virus among humans include using standard infection control, which includes frequent washing of hands with soap and water or with alcohol-based hand sanitisers, especially after being out in public.

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