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Cayman swine flu cases - 22

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  • Cayman swine flu cases - 22


    Cayman has swine flu

    Published on Sunday, June 7, 2009

    By Tad Stoner

    The Public Health Department has recorded the Cayman Islands? first case of swine flu, a male primary school student at the First Baptist Christian School, although officials say the victim is only mildly ill and rapidly recovering.

    Both health and school authorities agreed to close First Baptist School on Friday, while Principal Dr Linda Cross organised a 9:00 am to 11:30 am in-school clinic for concerned parents and children.

    ?We had about 55 people show up, and the main thing was that if anyone had flu symptoms for the last week or so, they would have gone for swabs,? Dr Cross said.

    First Baptist Christian School has 87 children in kindergarten through Year 8 and another 150 students in its infant to age four ?Wee Care? programme.

    ?The parents were very gratified we contacted them and were very open with them,? Dr Cross said. ?Everyone was very cordial and very patient with the long lines.?

    Citing patient confidentiality and a need for calm, both Medical Director of Health Dr Kiran Kumar, and Health Services Authority Medical Director Dr Greg Hoeksema declined to identify the victim, but said they had been shocked after learning the boy had attended school on Monday, 1 June against medical advice.

    The boy, they said, had attended school on Monday, 25 May after returning from New York City, where he was exposed to the H1N1 ?swine flu? virus.

    ?He was okay on the 26th, but was in school and started to feel unwell on the 27th and the 28th,? Dr Kumar said. ?On the 29th, they brought him into the hospital, so for two days he was unwell and within the school.?

    Despite medical advice that he remain home, however, the boy returned to school on 1 June.

    ?He was isolated from 29 May. I called the mother and told her not to send him to school. We were shocked to learn that this morning,? Dr Kumar said after a Friday-morning visit to First Baptist.

    Dr Cross said she had not leaned known until Thursday that the boy had been in class on Monday, but said staff had sent him home in the afternoon. ?He was here about a half-day,? she said.

    Because the student was only mildly affected, Dr Hoeksema said, doctors had elected not to treat him with Tamiflu vaccine, which is not a swine flu treatment and only reduces the more severe H1N1 symptoms

    ?Tamiflu is only effective within 48 hours of the symptoms anyway,
    said Dr Hoeksema, ?and if the victim is otherwise in good health, we let Mother Nature take her course. We don?t want to use Tamiflu unnecessarily because we don?t want the H1N1 virus to mutate and develop a resistance.?

    The victim, he said, had nearly recovered after resting at home since Monday, but ?it?s possible he may have affected his classmates,? Dr Kumar said.

    Meanwhile, two other potential victims, both isolated at home, had tested positive for infuenza ?A?, precursor to both standard seasonal flu and H1N1.

    ?One of the victims had travelled to the US,? Dr Kumar said, ?while the other had no travel history at all.? Both of their samples were sent on Friday morning to Trinidad?s Caribbean Epidemiology Centre for final testing.

    Dr Hoeksema said the doctor, nurses and other medical staff at the First Baptist School clinic had taken 61 samples. At press time, 25 had been tested and one adult had proved positive for influenza ?A?.

    Dr Kumar said that other recent testing, independent of First Baptist School, had revealed 31 positive results for flu, but none had been confirmed with ?swine flu?.

  • #2
    Re: Cayman swine flu cases - 3


    Third H1N1 flu case confirmed in the Cayman Islands

    Published on Friday, June 12, 2009

    GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands -- Test results from the Caribbean Epidemiology Centre (CAREC) have confirmed an additional case of the H1N1 flu virus in the Cayman Islands bringing to three the total number of confirmed cases locally.

    The latest confirmed case is another student. Medical Director of the Health Services Authority Dr Greg Hoeksema said, ?So far, this is the only confirmed case of novel H1N1 from the tests which were done at the school as part of the public health investigation last Friday, following confirmation of the first case.?

    Tests of six other samples completed by CAREC have been negative for the H1N1 virus. Results on the remaining samples will be available by the weekend.

    Hoeksema said the CAREC results confirm the first case of human-to-human transmission of the virus within the Cayman Islands. The youngster is doing well recovering at home without any medical treatment.

    Hoeksema emphasised that, with frequency of travel between the Cayman Islands and the United States, it is inevitable that there will be both additional imported cases and more human-to-human transmission in the islands. "There is no reason for panic. Our main aim now is to contain the spread of this flu virus as much as possible.? Persons with fever and a flu-like illness must stay home from work and sick children must be kept in home isolation to avoid spreading the virus.

    Health officials understand the anxiety this has caused for some persons in the community and the concern among parents in particular about the virus. It is important to remember, however, that this new strain is no different from the cases of typical seasonal flu that are seen every year in Cayman.

    Hoeksema cautioned: ?Remember, if you are sick, stay at home and observe good hygiene practices. Take the usual over the counter medications to relieve your symptoms. If you are concerned about the severity of your illness, seek medical care where you normally would. By following these simple guidelines, each of us can do our part to minimize the spread of the flu virus and ensure a healthy Cayman Islands.?


    • #3
      Re: Cayman swine flu cases - 4


      Fourth case of H1N1 flu recorded in the Cayman Islands
      Published on Wednesday, June 17, 2009
      By Tad Stoner

      GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands: The Cayman Islands recorded its fourth case of H1N1 flu during the long weekend, prompting medical authorities to abandon previous efforts to isolate the virus, while more than a dozen clinical tests remain outstanding.

      The latest case, a primary-school female who ?imported? the disease after overseas exposure, brings to three the number of classroom infections. The original ?index? victim, another student, was exposed in New York City, subsequently transmitting the affliction to a classmate.

      The third victim, also an imported case, was a mid-20s male unrelated to the others.

      ?Over the weekend, we got confirmation from CAREC (Trinidad?s Caribbean Epidemiology Centre) of several seasonal-flu cases and our fourth unique H1N1,?said Medical Director of the Health Services Authority Dr Greg Hoeksema, referring to local samples sent off-island for analysis last week.

      ?We are waiting on CAREC for more information,? he said, estimating another dozen-and-a-half samples awaited testing. ?We have a number of pending results from CAREC, while over the weekend we continued to get people in [to Cayman Islands Hospital for testing] and we have continued to send samples to CAREC.?

      Even CAREC, however, was not analysing every case placed before its laboratory. ?They are trickling in,? Dr Hoeksema said of Cayman?s test results, ?as CAREC gets swamped by activity around the entire Caribbean region.

      ?They are not even screening everything if it doesn?t meet the criteria. It?s a matter of resource allocation,? he said.

      The World Health Organisation (WHO) last week declared H1N1 a global ?pandemic?, defined as sustained human-to-human transmission in more than one UN-designated region, but cautioned that the spread of the disease did not indicate its severity.

      As initial alarm about H1N1 flu subsides, however, the WHO pointed to lingering uncertainty about the ?post-peak period? -- and possible renewal -- of the pandemic.

      ?It is uncertain if additional waves will occur and countries will need to be prepared for a second wave,? the organisation said. ?Pandemic waves can be separated by months and an immediate ?at-ease? signal may be premature.

      ?In the post-pandemic period, the virus will behave as a seasonal influenza ?A? virus,? the WHO said, reporting that as of Monday, 76 countries had reported approximately 42,000 cases of H1N1 infection and 181 deaths.

      ?We are telling people to stay home and rest,? Dr Hoeksema said, acknowledging the decline of H1N1 from its initially virulent form into a milder form of the disease.

      Prophylactic treatment with Tamiflu, a medication developed years ago for avian flu, had also slowed, he said, and had been given only to Cayman?s older male victim as authorities initially sought to isolate him.

      ?We will use Tamiflu to treat the severely ill or those at high risk with complications,? he said, including infants, those older than 65, the pregnant or the chronically ill.

      No H1N1 victims were in hospital, Dr Hoeksema said, although ?one had been in for seasonal flu. It happens occasionally.?

      He declined to predict imminent infection rates as CAREC analysed local samples, but indicated a pattern had been set.

      Both the traditional ?seasonal? flu and its H1N1 variant are subtypes of influenza ?A?.


      • #4
        Re: Cayman swine flu cases - 22

        Swine flu cases jump to 22

        From staff, wire reports
        Sunday 5th July, 2009 Posted: 13:11 CIT (18:11 GMT)

        The number of H1N1 swine flu cases in the Cayman Islands has jumped to 22 after eight more cases were confirmed last week.

        While three of the people counted among the new infections had travelled to a place with H1N1 swine flu, Acting Medical Officer of Health Dr. Anna Matthews said the latest figures confirm that Cayman has sustained local transmission.

        ?We should expect to see the numbers continue to climb,? she said. ?However, all the cases so far have been mild to moderate and our strategy and message remain the same.?

        Dr. Matthews said public health officials will continue to keep track of the virus?s prevalence as they continue to ask people who are sick to stay at home and minimise contact with other people as far as possible.

        Public Health?s surveillance and testing programmes have also identified the presence of other seasonal flu strains in Cayman, including Influenza B and C strains.

        ?Our proximity to the US and the fact that most of our residents are frequent travelers makes the presence of H1N1 in our country inevitable,? Dr. Matthews said. ?We continue to monitor the H1N1 flu pandemic closely and will adjust our health response to fit any changes in the nature of this flu virus.?

        The latest figures come as the UN?s top health official said the spread of swine flu was ?unstoppable?.

        In the two months since the first case of swine flu was diagnosed, the H1N1 virus has spread to over 100 countries, infecting over 70,000 people and killing over 300.

        "As we see today, with well over 100 countries reporting cases, once a fully fit pandemic virus emerges, its further international spread is unstoppable," World Health Organization head Margaret Chan said on Friday at a two?day summit in Mexico.

        World Health Organization representatives told the summit that universal access to a swine flu vaccine remains a ?critical question?.

        The organisation?s assistant director?general Keiji Fukuda said guaranteeing the vaccine is distributed to underdeveloped nations will require political goodwill.

        Cuauhtemoc Ruiz, coordinator for the Pan?American Health Organization, said the vaccine is likely to be available in "three or four months," but it could be up to a year before sufficient quantities are produced.

        The laboratories working to produce the vaccine, he said, can make 2.5 billion doses in six months.

        Dr. Chan said laboratories are looking at various possibilities, including creating a vaccine by adding a new component to the existing vaccine used for seasonal flu.

        If it works, the method could triple production.

        But there are fears that most of the stock that will be produced has already been reserved by the United States and European countries.

        Summit host Mexico appealed for "solidarity" in providing access to any future vaccine.

        Mexican Health Minister Jose Angel Cordova said that money should not be "the only factor taken into consideration" in distributing the vaccine, so that poor nations are not penalized.

        Mexican President Felipe Calderon also called for guarantees that developing countries would have access to the vaccine once it becomes commercially available.

        Questions remain about whether countries in the Americas will be able to afford a sufficient amount of the vaccine to handle the epidemic and health authorities are worried that a new wave of cases could emerge in autumn when seasonal flu returns.