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Ministry of Health updates nation on North American Influenza (Swine Flu)

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Contact: Lucius Doxerie


Wednesday, June 17, 2009 – Credited sources from CAREC, PAHO, WHO and CDC indicate that as of June 15 2009 – H1N1 Influenza has infected 76 countries around the world (including 11 Caribbean countries). To date, a total of 167 deaths have occurred worldwide with 44 deaths in the USA.


Of note, the disease seems to be infecting younger persons (less than 60 years) at a much higher rate.


On Monday June 15, 2009, St. Lucia received reports from authorities of another Caribbean Island, that a vessel with 43 ill crew members, all of whom were showing signs of flu like illness, was due to call into the island’s ports on Wednesday June 17, 2009. The official report as to the number of infected changed to 12 and then 14. The authorities at two previous ports had not allowed the vessel to disembark. On June 16, 2009 St. Lucia received confirmation that H1N1 Influenza had been confirmed in 3 out of 5 ill crew members tested on the vessel.


St. Lucia took a position similar to that of the two previous Caribbean islands, but offered to supply Tamiflu to the authorities on that vessel. This medication has been shown to be effective in treating H1N1 Influenza. Appreciation of this offer was conveyed by the vessel’s authorities to authorities in St. Lucia, but by this time, the vessel was already en route to another destination.


Caribbean Governments, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and other agencies, are currently in discussion to develop a unified approach to such incidents.


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
  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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