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Swine Flu claims second victim in St. Kitts-Nevis

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  • Swine Flu claims second victim in St. Kitts-Nevis

    Swine Flu claims second victim in St. Kitts-Nevis
    Deceased male had underlying medical conditions
    Deceased died in mid-November
    Nine tested positive with H1N1 in Federation

    By Melissa Bryant

    BASSETERRE, St. Kitts ? MINISTRY of Health officials have confirmed that the recent passing of a 52-year-old Kittitian male is the Federation?s second death from the H1NI virus, commonly referred to as swine flu.

    Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr. Patrick Martin said that his ministry today (Dec. 13) officially notified the World Health Organisation (WHO) of the deceased, who passed away at the Joseph N France Hospital on Monday, November 16.

    He said laboratory tests were done and confirmation received on Tuesday, November 24 that the man died from the H1N1 virus. ?The ministry received the official notification on Thursday, December 10,? the CMO added.

    The nation?s first swine flu death was in July, when a 28-year-old female (also with underlying medical conditions) died after being rushed to the hospital for treatment. Since the initial H1N1 outbreak in April, the WHO has confirmed over 10 000 related deaths.
    Due to the nature of the two deaths, Dr. Martin outlined some of the risk factors associated with the virus.

    ?Certain underlying medical conditions put persons at higher risk for severe disease requiring hospitalisation. These conditions include pregnancy in the third trimester, asthma and other lung conditions, obesity, heart disease, diabetes, people with weakened immune systems due to medication or disease such as HIV, AIDS or cancer, and blood, kidney and liver disorders.

    ?Persons with underlying medical conditions must be vigilant about their state of health and report flu-like symptoms to their primary care provider immediately. Any person with a flu-like illness plus breathing difficulty, weakness or dehydration, must seek medical attention immediately at the nearest hospital,? he noted.

    As of today (Dec. 13), the Federation has recorded nine positive H1N1 tests. After dozens of schoolchildren were absent in mid-November due to severe flu-like symptoms, Martin confirmed that the majority of them had probably contracted the H1N1 virus, as it was the most common type of influenza in circulation.

    Despite that situation, the CMO claimed there was evidence that the second H1N1 wave which commenced in late October had eased. He however warned against public complacency and predicted another wave would occur in January after the Christmas and Carnival season.

    In November, the Health Ministry revealed that vaccine for the virus would not arrive in St. Kitts-Nevis until March 2010 at the earliest.

    Meanwhile, Martin advised persons to continue influenza prevention practices such as covering their mouths while coughing and sneezing and avoiding public contact if they pick up flu-like symptoms. According to the CMO, the most effective measures against the virus include good nutrition and hydration, adequate rest and exercise, good personal hygiene and environmental sanitation, and a positive mental attitude.

    He reiterated, ?The vast majority of H1N1 cases are mild and do not require treatment. Testing and treatment are reserved for hospitalised cases or otherwise as determined by a doctor.?
    Twitter: @RonanKelly13
    The views expressed are mine alone and do not represent the views of my employer or any other person or organization.