Two cases of Swine Flu confirmed in Trinidad

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swineflu-700x462[Trinidad Guardian] – In the face of two confirmed cases of swine flu and reports of other cases, the public is being advised that there is no need to panic.

The assurance came from medical director of the San Fernando General Hospital (SFGH), Dr Anand Chatoorgoon, yesterday who played down the spread of the virus.

He said there were no unique symptoms of the H1N1 virus (swine flu) which is spread by droplets from an infected patient.

“H1N1 is with us all the time. It is not that we never have it. Every now and again patients get infected with influenza viruses.

“There are many types of influenza and H1N1 is one. If we suspect someone has pneumonia that is galloping unusually fast and getting severe that they need to go on a ventilator, then we have a high index of suspicion this could be H1N1. So there is nothing specific about H1N1,” he added.

He said three patients, including the two deceased—Cherrie Ryce who died from H1N1 on October 16; Himraj Mungroo, 60, of Quarry Road, Quarry Village, who died earlier this month and another case involving a security officer, being treated—are all from south Trinidad but did not indicate that the virus was confined to any particular part of the country.

He also confirmed that test results done by the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) on swabs taken from 16-year-old Shannon Nashaud came back negative for H1N1.

Autopsy results showed that Nashaud, of Couva, died on November 2 from pneumonia, one of the symptoms of the H1N1.

He said Mungroo presented with fever, diarrhoea and developed breathing complications but he got worse and died.

Chatoorgoon said there were varying degrees of the flu, in that some people have the mild form while others develop the severe form.

He said if the immune system of patients was compromised, “in that if you are fat, diabetic, are on durgs, steroid, have cancer, patients are more susceptible and develop complications.”

Chatoorgoon said the latest patient, while still critical, was improving.

“I think his lungs are getting better, although with ICU one can never tell,” he added.

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