Girl is fourth swine flu case

An eight-year-old girl has been confirmed as the Cayman Islands’ fourth H1N1 swine flu case.

In a release Wednesday, the Health Services Authority said the girl fell sick a few days after returning from a trip to Miami.

‘The child is recovering well at home without antiviral medications and is experiencing an uncomplicated illness like the other patients we have had locally,’ said Dr. Greg Hoeksema, the HSA’s medical director.

He said the high volume of travel between the Cayman Islands and the US means people will continue to bring the disease to the islands, in turn leading to local human-to-human transmission.

Health officials are no longer asking flu sufferers to report to the Cayman Islands Hospital, and are instead urging potential cases to stay in home isolation until their symptoms have completely resolved.

But those at an increased risk of developing complications from the flu should visit their doctor, officials say.

‘These include children under five, people over 65, people with serious chronic medical problems, people with immune deficiency, and women who are pregnant,’ explained Dr. Hoeksema.

He said the virus remains mild and appears no different from the typical seasonal flu. The Caribbean Epidemiology Center has confirmed three strands of seasonal flu virus are currently circulating on the island.

‘Our advice is to stay at home and only seek medical care with your regular physician if you are concerned about the severity of your illness,’ Dr. Hoeksema said.

In a press release, the HSA said people with fever and flu-like symptoms (headache, chills, cough, chest pain, sore throat, muscle aches, diarrhea, vomiting) should do the following:

  • Remain at home until all symptoms have completely resolved (typically 4-10 days);
  • Take over-the-counter medication as needed to relieve symptoms, but do not give children under 18 years of age any aspirin-containing products;
  • Drink lots of fluids (water and other non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated beverages) to avoid becoming dehydrated;
  • If you have diarrhea or vomiting, it’s a good idea to rest, eat only small amounts of food at a time, and drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration.

As of Monday, there had been almost 36,000 worldwide H1N1 cases in 76 countries, including 163 deaths.

For more information and advice, residents can call the Public Health/HSA 24-hour flu hotline at 926-2812.

Note: An earlier report incorrectly identified the patients as a boy; the patient is female. The Caymanian Compassstrives for accuracy and is committed to correcting errors that appear in the newspaper. Those interested in contacting the paper for that purpose can send an e-mail to the editor at [email protected] or call her at 815-0026.