Swine flu cases climb to 43

The number of H1N1 cases in Cayman continues to climb, after the Health Services Authority has confirmed another five cases of the novel H1N1.

The increase – which brings the total number of confirmed cases to 43 – is not surprising says health officials, as it is in line with World Health Organization and Center for Disease Control data that shows about 6 per cent of populations are being affected by the virus in other parts of the world.

‘We expect to see many more cases over the next few months. We have recently met with our regional Pan American Health Organisation representative Dr. Ernest Pate to ensure that the strategies in place fit the current status of the pandemic. We are constantly reviewing our response, and will continue to follow international guidelines,’ said Acting Medical Officer of Health Dr. Anna Matthews.

‘So, in line with the (World Health Organisation) and (Pan American Health Organisation) guidelines we still recommend that anyone with flu-like symptoms remain in home isolation and limit social contact so that we can contain this virus as best as possible,’ she said.

To date most H1N1 patients in Cayman have been experiencing a mild illness and recovered at home without antiviral medications.

Health officials have however confirmed that one patient with an underlying medical condition had experienced severe symptoms and was hospitalized as a precaution. This patient has since recovered and is doing well at home.

‘This reinforces that the current pandemic H1N1 flu virus is no more concerning than the other three influenza viruses that continue to circulate in the Cayman Islands,’ Dr. Matthews said.

She gave the following advice: ‘If you are in general good health, you do not necessarily need the care of a physician and can treat your symptoms with over-the-counter medications. However, if you have severe symptoms such as shortness of breath, chest pain or wheezing should seek medical attention.

‘Also, those with chronic illnesses or other underlying medical conditions, the immuno-suppressed, persons over the age of 65, pregnant women and children under 5 years of age should consult a doctor.’

‘We expect to see many more cases over the next few months.’

Dr. Anna Matthews, Acting Medical Officer of Health

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