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H1N1 influenza confirmed in Saint Lucia


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Contact: Cyprian Yarde

 

Monday,  June 29, 2009   On the evening of Friday June 26, 2009, the Ministry of Health was informed by CAREC (Caribbean Epidemiology Center based in Trinidad) that the first case of H1N1 Influenza had been confirmed in St. Lucia. This resulted from a sample sent to CAREC the previous day, after it was noted that the sample was positive for Influenza A, on the preliminary rapid test performed at the Ezra Long Laboratory at Victoria Hospital.

 

The case involved is a 32 year old female who recently travelled to the United Kingdom. The patient had flu like symptoms including fever, running nose and sore throat, and later developed a mild cough. She visited her practitioner who took samples for viral tests. The patient was started on Tamiflu (the antiviral medication shown to be effective against H1N1), as soon as the result of the rapid test was received from VH and that was prior to the confirmatory result from CAREC.

 

We have reports that the patient is doing very well.

 

Close contacts of this index case have been identified through a collaborative effort involving Port Health, Immigration and carrier agents. The Epidemiology department in the Ministry of Health is leading the management of contacts and is working closely with all parties involved.

 

We commend the patient and practitioner involved for their prompt action.

 

The public is reminded that anyone with flu-like symptoms and a recent history of travel to an affected country should have a test done for Influenza. This test is free and samples can be taken by a health practitioner at any health facility.  All such samples are then sent to the lab at Victoria Hospital for processing.

 

Persons with flu-like symptoms who have no recent history of travel, but who have had contact with recently travellers should also get tested.

 

Advice to the Public:

  1. Practice cough etiquette: cover your cough and wash your hands frequently

  2. Visit a health practitioner if you have flu like symptoms and have visited a country with confirmed cases of H1N1 Influenza, or have had close contact with travellers from such areas.

  3. A rapid screening test for Influenza A is available in St. Lucia. H1N1 Influenza can be confirmed by CAREC, the regional laboratory based in Trinidad.

  4. Take extra hygiene precautions if you are visiting a country with many confirmed cases of H1N1

  5. If you are ill with flu, do not go to work

  6. If you are ill with flu, do not go to mass crowd gatherings

For more information, please contact the Ministry of Health at:

(758) 468-5309, (758) 468-5317, (758) 468-5318, (758) 468-5300


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