THERE’S no need for panic but certainly for precaution, Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan said following the confirmation of six cases of swine flu (Influenza A H1N1) in St Vincent and the Grenadines. 

Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) reported from Kingstown on Wednesday that the Trinidad-based Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) has made the confirmation.

According to  a statement issued by chief medical officer Simon Keizer, classes at Troumaca Secondary School were suspended last week after the Ministry of Health confirmed it had become aware the largest number of patients seeking medical attention for an “acute illness”, in the Chateaubelair health district had been from the school. 

Classes resumed on Monday, the official stated, and to date there were 48 reported cases of the “influenza-like illness”.

Khan said anyone travelling to and from the neighbouring islands should be cautious with hygiene, including the washing of hands, the top cause of the spread of flu-like viruses.

“What would be frightening, however, would be to get caught inside a plane with persons who are coughing and sneezing,” he said.

Persons entering Trinidad and Tobago from these destinations will be subject to port health scanning upon entry and be treated accordingly, he said.

The statement from CMO Keizer disclosed that “all clients have been treated and discharged” and added  that the respiratory virus is treated “symptomatically”. 

“Persons are, therefore, asked to seek medical care from their district medical officer if they present with sore throat, runny nose, elevated temperature or any associated symptoms. Persons are also asked to practise social distancing in the event that they become ill, that is, to refrain from attending school or work if ill,” the statement urged.

The Ministry of Health in St Vincent said it would continue “active surveillance throughout St Vincent and the Grenadines”, while the population was asked to practise increased hygiene by covering the mouth and nose with a tissue or handkerchief, if sneezing or coughing and to be vigilant with the washing of hands.