Cayman resident tested for swine flu

A Cayman resident who travelled to the United States earlier this month and tested positive for Type A Influenza on 17 May is now being tested for the symptoms of the H1N1 virus, more commonly known as ‘swine flu.’

Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kiran Kumar cautioned the public this morning that this case was not Cayman’s first presentation of the H1N1 virus, which has infected nearly 10,000 people and caused 79 deaths in 40 countries.

‘This local case of Influenza A does not mean we have a new case of H1N1,’ Mr. Kumar said Tuesday morning.

However, he said blood samples from the female flu patient were being sent to the Caribbean Epidemiology Centre in Trinidad to make sure she was not infected with swine flu.

Test results should be back by Friday, Mr. Kumar said.

The Health Service Authority’s Dr. Greg Hoeksema said, according to data in the United States, about one-third of patients that tested positive for ‘swine flu’ had initially presented symptoms of Type A Influenza.

However, in this particular case the woman who returned from the US on 7 May did not start getting sick until 15 May. She went to the George Town Hospital on 17 May for a check up.

Symptoms of the H1N1 virus have generally presented in patients within seven days of infection. Mr. Hoeksema also pointed out her family members had been sick prior to her return home.

‘She’s outside that timeline,’ Mr. Hoeksema said. ‘But no one knows everything about this virus yet.’

The woman is not going to work and is receiving doses of the Tamiflu medication at home, Mr. Kumar said. Her family members have been advised not to sleep in the same room as her and have been provided with facial masks.

Dr. Kumar said, since news of the H1N1 virus outbreak went public, 17 people have been tested for flu-like symptoms at the George Town Hospital. Sixteen of them have tested negative.