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Namibia: 37 year old businessman first swineflu death

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  • Namibia: 37 year old businessman first swineflu death

    07.09.09

    Namibia confirms first flu death

    BY: NANGULA SHEJAVALI


    THE first fatality to H1N1 (commonly known as ?swine flu?) in Namibia has been confirmed. Minister of Health and Social Services, Richard Kamwi, on Friday reported that the death of a 37 year old businessman at Oshikango was related to the global pandemic.

    The man fell ill while in Angola and presented himself to a private doctor at the border town upon his return to Namibia with severe pneumonia. But by the time he went to the doctor, his pneumonia had already progressed severely, and he died shortly afterwards.

    A swab was taken post-mortem (after his death) to test for H1N1, and the result came back positive on Friday, indicating the first flu-related death in the country.

    South Africa also confirmed its first flu death with post-mortem testing, after a 22-year old male university student succumbed to the disease following severe pneumonia.

    To date, Namibia has confirmed 44 cases of the flu through laboratory testing, across nine of country?s thirteen regions.

    Most cases have appeared mild with patients recovering well. The Ministry has said that efforts are underway to see how people that tested positive are doing.

    Expressing his condolences to the family and stating that the number of confirmed cases provided an indication that ?the virus is now circulating widely in our population?, Kamwi also appealed for calm, saying: ?The Ministry would like to call upon the entire nation to remain calm and follow the advice given by health workers.?

    In this regard, he urged the public to report to a health facility or doctor should they experience worsening symptoms of the flu, and appealed to flu patients to minimise their contact with people for at least 5-7 days from the onset of the flu.

    Symptoms of the flu, he said, include fever, coughing, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, fatigue, and diarrhea and vomiting in some cases.

    ?Most importantly, those at higher risk including pregnant women, children under five years, older persons, people with chronic diseases such as asthma, and those who are immune compromised should take immediate action to seek a medical check-up,? he urged.

    Kamwi said the Ministry would continue to actively work on its strategy ?to prevent the further spread of the illness and especially to minimise severe cases or even fatalities.?

    He added that ?the National Health Emergency Management Committee is monitoring the situation very closely and will ensure that the necessary steps are taken to contain the spread of the virus and mitigate its impact.?

    Of the 44 cases confirmed so far, 13 are from the Hardap Region, 8 from Khomas, 7 from Otjozondjupa, 5 from Erongo, 4 from Karas, 3 from Kavango, 2 from Omaheke, and one each from Kunene and Oshikoto.

    South Africa has confirmed close to 6 000 cases of the flu, with at least 27 flu related deaths; and globally, the World Health Organisation on Friday reported that more than 250 000 cases have now been confirmed through laboratory testing, with over 2800 flu-related deaths.

    nangula@namibian.com.na

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