Jamaica activates national influenza plan following spike in Swine Flu cases

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The Ministry of Health in Jamaica is putting measures in place to prepare the health sector for more influenza cases, following an increase in cases of H1N1, commonly referred to as Swine Flu, and one death linked to that illness. Minister of Health Horace Dalley says he has instructed the National Emergency Operations Centre team to activate the national influenza plan.

Minister of Health, Horace Dalley
Minister of Health, Horace Dalley

“We have been reviewing our systems to ensure that we are able to manage any increase in cases that may come at our public health facilities. The team has been instructed to ensure that the necessary resources are put in place across all the Regional Health Authorities,” he said.

Chief Medical Officer Dr. Winston De La Haye says the ministry has been monitoring symptoms associated with influenza viruses through its surveillance system and has noted an increase in cases over the past six weeks.

As a result doctors have been advised to report cases of influenza on suspicion within 24 hours.

“We have confirmed 10 cases since the start of the year and so far identified two strains of influenza viruses that are circulating among the population. Nine of the ten cases are H1N1. That nine includes one death. We have been strengthening our systems and increasing our supplies of medication to deal with this increase,” Dr. De La Haye said.

Over the weekend, a female doctor who was infected with H1N1, died in hospital. It was the first H1N1-related death in Jamaica.

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