Last update: 13-Dec-2013 3:20 am
Friday, December 13, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Fuad: No swine flu epidemic in T&T
Although there continues to be growing public fear over swine flu (H1N1) after the confirmation of six local cases, Health Minister Fuad Khan says there is no epidemic in T&T Noting that five of the cases were from at the San Fernando General Hospital and one at the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex, Khan said yesterday that this figure was expected to increase. However, he said T&T has had swine flu cases since it first appeared here in 2009 and that people have been going to hospitals exhibiting symptoms of the virus since then. “I would appreciate if people do not panic, as those who are susceptible are those who are extremely obese, those who have chronic lung problems and those who are immune suppressed. “People who have cancer treatments, et cetera, they should go and get the vaccine themselves if they are around people who have swine flu symptoms. Other than that, just use caution and not rush for it,” Khan said.
Khan said the hysteria over the virus was caused by a swine flu related death in Barbados last week, where four cases had been confirmed. “Six confirmed; five in San Fernando, one in Eric Williams, but there will be a lot more confirmed cases, you know. It has always been around, it is just that people are making a ‘hullabaloo’ about it because of what happened in Barbados,” he said. Asked how he would rate the presence of the virus in T&T, Khan said it was normal. He said: “The World Health Organisation and Paho (Pan American Health Organisation) have indicated that it is nothing unusual. Since 2009, it has always been around and we have been organising. The people who died and were very susceptible were people who went for treatment late.” With the San Fernando hospital receiving a fresh batch of vaccines on Friday, Khan said his ministry has been spreading information on the virus. He said vaccinations are now available at most health centres as it was not supposed to be done at hospitals. Khan supported acting South West Regional Health Authority CEO Dr Shivanan Gopeesingh’s call for students exhibiting signs of the virus to stay at home.
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