Suspected case of H1N1 being investigated here

The Ministry of Public Health has been made aware of a possible case of H1N1 at a local hospital and testing is to be done to ascertain if this is so.

The report of the possible case comes amid several deaths in Trinidad and Tobago from what is commonly known as the swine flu.

Another death was reported earlier this week in Trinidad but Minister of Public Health Dr George Norton assured on Wednesday that Guyana stands ready to treat any cases of the highly contagious H1N1 virus.

He said during an interview with Stabroek News at his Brickdam office that a task force which had been set up is fully prepped, having been extensively trained and all the required medication to treat these four infectious virus are in stock.

Within recent months, there have been five reported deaths in Trinidad the last being at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex, Mt Hope which occurred on Tuesday night. Medical Chief of Staff Dr Andy Bhagwandass told the Trinidad Guardian that he could not divulge much information on the patient.

There have been cases of the deadly viral infection in several countries in the Caribbean over the years including Jamaica, the Dominican Republic and Barbados. In 2009, swine flu accounted for just over 14, 000 deaths worldwide. Of the 237 deaths in Central America and Caribbean region numbers show that the largest number of deaths occurred in the Dominican Republic followed by Jamaica.

“We definitely are concerned about that (swine flu). It is not only the swine flu but we have the zika flu next door in Brazil… and then the chikungunya has been around and of course the one we all have terror for, the Ebola”, Norton had told Stabroek News.

The minister yesterday repeatedly assured that the public need not worry. He said that if Guyana had enough measures in place to safeguard against the killer virus Ebola, then “we would similarly have in place for the swine flu”. In October 2009 during a global outbreak of the flu, around two dozen cases were reported here.

A newly developed vaccine had been in demand during 2009.

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