Thursday, December 14, 2017

Swine flu 'still a threat'

Swine flu (H1N1) is still alive in Trinidad and Tobago, Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Anton Cumberbatch warned yesterday.

Cumberbatch said H1N1 comes "in waves" and he expected a resurgence of the virus could hit the country at any time.

"Once a virus come to a country, it's not like it jumps on a plane and leaves. It stays around," he said in a brief telephone interview yesterday.

"But it is not some new strain, it is the same H1N1, so once you had it, you won't get it again," he added.

He said the public health sector has been prepared to deal with H1N1 cases for the past two years, but reminded citizens to maintain hygienic practices to resist the flu.

A release from the Ministry of Health warned people with flu-like symptoms to stay home for seven to ten days or until a full day after the flu symptoms have passed.

"Avoid contact like hugging or shaking hands. Keep hands away from the eyes, mouth and nose. Germs can spread or enter the body this way," the release said.

The Ministry also warned that infected persons can spread the virus from at least one day before any symptoms develop and for as much as seven days after symptoms appear.

"Children, especially younger children, can be contagious for much longer periods, ten to 14 days," the Ministry warned.

The Ministry also advised that infected persons keep a close eye on their symptoms.

"Check for emergency warning signs and seek medical attention if symptoms worsen," it said.