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Ministry of Health reports reduction in number of persons with flu like symptoms

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Contact: Ministry of Health


Tuesday,  October 27, 2009  H1N1 Influenza trends seem to indicate that we are nearing the end of a first wave of the disease in St. Lucia. The number of persons with flu like symptoms presenting to our health care facilities has reduced from 3 digits, to 2 digit numbers per week. As a result, effective Monday November 2, 2009, the Ministry of Health, Wellness, Family Affairs, National Mobilisation, Human Services and Gender Relations will discontinue the operations of specialized Flu clinics. 


However, all persons need to remain on alert as there is expected to be a second wave of H1N1 Influenza infection. This means that after an apparent lull in cases, we are expecting to see a second sharp increase or spike in the number of persons coming down with flu like symptoms, within the next 2-6 months.


As the first wave of H1N1 Influenza illness affected most of the susceptible school aged children, the second spike will most likely be among the ‘working age’ population.


The viability of business in this present H1N1 Influenza pandemic is of utmost importance and hence our focus on preparing business places in the last few weeks. The Ministry of Health is well placed to assist business places with infection control procedures in the workplace. The Ministry of Agriculture is the authority on biosecurity measures to be taken on farms to prevent the spread of H1N1 infection in this setting. Employers and the self- employed, are urged to contact either of these agencies for assistance in securing the health and viability of your operations.


To date, we have had no deaths from H1N1 Influenza in St. Lucia. Some persons have been admitted to hospital with complications from H1N1 influenza infection, but all have recovered completely.


However, the public is reminded that although most persons who acquire the disease have only mild flu- like symptoms and recover within one week, some persons may develop more severe illness, and a few may die.  


A vaccine against H1N1 Influenza is currently available in limited quantities in industrialized countries and may soon become available here. It should be noted that when this vaccine becomes available in St. Lucia, priority will be given to ‘very high risk groups’ such as clinical health care workers, workers in the emergency services and other high risk groups.


All of us need to continue frequent washing of hands to protect ourselves and prevent the spread of H1N1 Influenza. Persons with flu like symptoms should cover their cough and remain away from work, school or public places for at least 1 week.


For more information, please call:


Ministry of Health: (758) 468-5300/09/18/17/02, (758) 452-2301

Ministry of Agriculture: (758) 468-5621/20/24, (758) 450-3213, (758) 454-6254

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