Swine Flu rumours doused

Man’s death under review

A 31-year-old Caymanian man who passed away at the Cayman Islands Hospital Monday morning tested negative in Cayman for Swine Flu, the H1N1 virus.

.He had been a resident at Caribbean Haven, which is government’s substance abuse treatment centre in the Bodden Town District near Frank Sound.

‘We know what his presenting symptoms were and we know what our clinical suspicion was but there is going to be a post-mortem examination performed to try to determine the exact cause of death,’ said Health Services Medical Director Dr. Greg Hoeksema.

The testing done locally has about a 90 per cent accuracy rate, but samples have been sent to the Caribbean Epidemiology Centre in Trinidad for further testing.

Mr. Hoeksema said the purpose of the testing is to monitor for a potential mutation of the virus.

Health officials are continuing to investigate the cause of death.

Minister of Health Mark Scotland urged everyone to refrain from judgement until the cause of death is officially known.

‘Already, you may have heard of a possible H1N1 (Swine Flu) connection. Ongoing investigations will confirm whether or not this is the case shortly. Until the official results are announced, I urge everyone to avoid participation in the many rumours that have been circulating regarding this case.’

At Monday’s afternoon press briefing, Public Health’s Dr. Kiran Kumar said public health officials were to see residents and staff at Caribbean Haven Monday evening.

In the Cayman Islands there have been 49 cases of the H1N1 Virus confirmed, with 19 of those imported and 30 with no travel history. Of the 30 people, 14 were contacts of the imported cases and 16 had no known contacts.

‘This particular case reminds us that as this virus continues its spread in the Cayman Islands and if it bears true, as it has in other places, that six per cent of the population is affected over the course of the next few months – that’s 3,000 to 4,000 cases – then hospitalization and serious illness is going to be inevitable and, heaven forbid we should have a death as a direct result of the H1N1 Virus, it should not be unexpected or alarming because in the vast majority of people the virus does have a mild to moderate illness, but in some people and cases the virus behaves differently,’ said Mr. Hoeksema.

He pointed to those in the high risk groups such as children younger than five, those older than 65 or those with serious underlying medical conditions and advised that they should immediately see their doctors if presenting with flu-like symptoms.

All Cayman Islands’ residents are urged to follow the HSA guidelines to avoid the spread of the virus.

Minister Scotland asked that employers cooperate with employees who present with symptoms in allowing them to stay home.

FYI

Keep away from anyone with flu-like symptoms

Wash hands

Dispose of tissues

Stay away from work for seven days if you have flu-like symptoms.

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