Trinidad registers 10 swine flu cases

Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh

(Trinidad Guardian) There have been ten con­firmed cas­es of H1N1 virus or swine flu in the coun­try.

Con­fir­ma­tion came from Health Min­is­ter Ter­rence Deyals­ingh yes­ter­day dur­ing an in­ter­view on The Morn­ing Brew.

In giv­ing de­tails about the dead­ly virus, Deyals­ingh ad­mit­ted that it was not un­usu­al for the min­istry to face chal­lenges dur­ing the flu sea­son which starts in Oc­to­ber and ends post-Car­ni­val, as he urged cit­i­zens to get their free vac­cines at health cen­tres.

Of the 75,000 H1N1 vac­cines avail­able, Deyals­ingh said, 14,500 peo­ple have been in­oc­u­lat­ed in the last few weeks.

Once the stock drops to 20,000 vac­cines, the min­istry re­orders.

In 2015, there were 29 con­firmed cas­es of the H1N1 virus with three deaths.

Though the South West Re­gion­al Health Au­thor­i­ty had re­cent­ly re­port­ed of treat­ing a few H1N1 pa­tients, Deyals­ingh said the over­all fig­ure was “ten,” stat­ing that the ma­jor­i­ty of cas­es orig­i­nat­ed in South.

“We have had three preg­nant women in this flu sea­son who need­ed ICU sup­port to get over that hump,” he said.

Deyals­ingh said two of the women have suc­cess­ful­ly re­cov­ered, while the third is re­ceiv­ing med­ical at­ten­tion.

“We have es­caped the death of three preg­nant women for this sea­son so far. We have one now who is touch and go…who was not vac­ci­nat­ed.”

When asked if any of the ten pa­tients were crit­i­cal, Deyals­ingh replied: “We’ve had two deaths over the last three sea­sons which sta­tis­ti­cal­ly is ex­cel­lent but is a dis­as­ter for those fam­i­lies.”

The min­is­ter said in the past year­ly vac­cines were ad­min­is­tered to five at-risk cat­e­gories of peo­ple-health care work­ers, el­der­ly with meta­bol­ic dis­eases, chil­dren, those with poor im­mune sys­tem and preg­nant women.

How­ev­er, he said this pol­i­cy has since changed, as any­one can now ac­cess the vac­cine free.

So far, Deyals­ingh said, 1,800 vac­cines were ad­min­is­tered to preg­nant women at an­te­na­tal clin­ics.

“It is a pri­or­i­ty.”

The min­is­ter said the Gov­ern­ment al­so took a de­ci­sion on Thurs­day that Car­ni­val band­lead­ers should in­form their for­eign mas­quer­aders via its web­sites to have their H1N1 shots in their home coun­try be­fore com­ing to our shores.

“Be­cause it is very dif­fi­cult for some­body fly­ing in to play mas on Car­ni­val Sat­ur­day to get vac­ci­nat­ed. It is just not go­ing to hap­pen,” the min­is­ter point­ed out.

As for the con­tro­ver­sial Cou­va Hos­pi­tal, Deyals­ingh said hoped to have it op­er­a­tional lat­er this year.

Deyals­ingh said he has no plans to scrap the Re­gion­al Health Au­thor­i­ties in 2019.

“What we are do­ing at the min­istry is ex­ert­ing more over­sight on the RHAs and I think that is bear­ing fruits.”

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