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Ministry of Health conducts investigation of flu-like illness



Article by: GIS.

The Ministry of Health and Wellness is investigating a few deaths in adult males which occurred during the month of March.

In some cases, the individuals had underlying medical conditions, but in two cases the males had no history of any past medical illness.

Although a respiratory cause is suspected, the Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Merlene Fredericks-James, said vector-borne diseases and other infectious diseases cannot be ruled out. While laboratory and other tests are still being processed, the public is being asked to be on the alert.

“We should be reminded that we are experiencing a higher than normal number of flu cases as compared to previous years at the same point in time,” Dr. Fredericks said. “The flu shot is available and can provide some protection against flu. It may not be 100 percent but it would reduce the likelihood that persons develop a more serious illness if they got infected with flu.

“The flu vaccine is available free of charge at all wellness centers. There is also Tamiflu, which is one of the medications geared toward treating cases of flu. Tamiflu is also available at all public health facilities.”

The Chief Medical Officer said while the symptoms appear to be respiratory, there are other illnesses with symptoms that mimic the flu.

“We know that with dengue, which is transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito, that some persons can develop dengue hemorrhagic fever; and in some cases of leptospirosis, the disease transmitted by rats, sometimes persons can present with the symptoms of a flu-like illness which may lead to deterioration. So we are asking persons to be on guard and take the necessary precaution,” she advised, adding, “If you do have symptoms of illness, visit your health practitioner in a timely manner.”

The Ministry of Health and Wellness will provide additional updates as soon as they become available.

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