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SMO says medical experts will continue monitoring as Saint Lucia records first H1N1 related death

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Contact: Shannon Lebourne


Friday, November 6, 2009 – The Ministry of Health is urging citizens not to panic, following the confirmation of the first death related to the dreaded H1N1 virus here in Saint Lucia. Senior Medical Officer Dr. Merlene Frederick, says it is important that Saint Lucians remain vigilant and continue to take the necessary precautions against contracting the virus.


Dr. Frederick says free medical treatment is available for people with flu-like symptoms at all medical facilities on the island. “Although most people who get infected with the H1N1 influenza will have only a mild flu illness, there will be some instances where people will develop more severe illnesses. As such we would like to urge all citizens to remain on guard. If at any time people realise that they are feeling worst, then they should seek medical care urgently. Medical care is available at health centres despite the fact the we temporarily discontinued the flu clinics, it doesn't mean that care is not available for flu patients—care is free at all health centres where we are treating both flu cases and non-flu cases,” Dr. Frederick said.


The Senior Medical Officer says medical experts will continue to monitor the situation and will update the nation as time progresses. “We are at a point where we do not test everyone who comes in with flu-like symptoms, so the number of confirmed cases may not correctly reflect the number of people who are actually ill with H1N1. So far, we have had six people with severe cases who had to be admitted to hospital and most of them have recovered well since we since we have had just one related death. It is still a positive outlook for Saint Lucia, but we need to remain on guard. We are at a point where we are seeing a decrease in the number of cases, but there will still be people with the flu and those individuals still need to take the necessary precautions and seek medical care early,” Dr. Frederick added.


The Ministry of Health continues to advice that frequent hand washing is one of the most successful ways of reducing the spread of the H1N1 virus.

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