Media Release #2
Subject: Swine Flu
April 30 2009
Confirmed cases of the new strain of human swine influenza A (H1N1) reported in Mexico, the USA, Austria, Canada, Germany, New Zealand, Israel, Spain, and the
Suspected (not lab confirmed) cases have been reported from a large number of countries in multiple continents.
There have been no confirmed cases of human swine influenza in any CAREC member countries including St. Kitts and Nevis.
The current WHO pandemic alert remains at Phase 5 (on a 6-point scale) - the existence of sustained community level outbreaks in two or more countries within a
WHO region. Phase 6 means there is sustained community outbreaks in one country of another WHO region. Movement to Phase 6 is highly likely.
The WHO has NOT issued any travel advisories at this time.
No suspected cases have been reported.
Measures to protect public health have been done:
o Of travelers at the ports.
o Of residents via health facilities including doctor’s offices.
• Information about the following
o Swine Flu symptoms which are identical to Seasonal Flu – Fever, Severe Cough, Sneezing, Aches and Pain, Weakness and in severe cases Difficulty Breathing,
Weakness, and Lethargy.
o Why, where and how to obtain medical advice and medical attention
• Community health and hospital personnel know how and where to manage suspected cases.
• Antiviral medications have been ordered.
• Transport Media for lab tests have been requested.
Health measures are governed by public health rationale and relevant scientific information superintended by the WHO. The current guidance is as follows (some
adaptation to the local context):
1. Travel - If you have to travel to a country or area where there are known cases, pay strict attention to personal hygiene measures. Avoid contact with crowds to
the extent possible.
2. Prevention – Person-to-person spread is prevented by covering of the nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing and by hand-washing with soap and water.
Vaccine is also effective but not yet available and may take weeks.
3. Mask Protection - Approved masks are for use only by persons who are more likely to be in direct contact with a case. Such contact may occur in the conduct of
surveillance or during the delivery of medical care in a facility or at home.
4. Medication Treatment - When available, antiviral medication will be reserved for the treatment of cases diagnosed by a doctor.
5. Lab Testing - Strict criteria govern who is to be tested, when and how. Lab tests will be ordered by a medical doctor. Specimens will be sent via a hospital lab to
CAREC for processing. Results will be available within six (6) hours.
6. Illness – Do not panic. There is no need to rush to the hospital or clinic. Most persons with the flu – Swine Flu or Seasonal Flu – can be cared for at home. Stay
at home. For advice, call your personal doctor or the community health center in your area.
Local Public Advice
1. Pay attention to media information quoting authoritative sources e.g. Ministries of Health, PAHO/WHO, CAREC, CDC, Health Canada, UK Health Promotion Agency,
2. Stay at home if you have Common Cold symptoms – fever, runny nose, sneeze, cough and throat ache – you will be better in 2 to 3 days. Common Cold is not the
3. Swine Flu symptoms are the same as Seasonal Flu e.g. “De Whale”. Symptoms include fever, cough, sneeze, aches and pains, and in severe cases, breathing
difficulty, weakness, and lethargy.
4. Seek medical attention for breathing difficulty, weakness and lethargy. Otherwise stay at home and contact your personal doctor or the community health center for
5. Practice proper hygiene measures such as
a. Always covering of the nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing.
b. Cover with absorbent tissue or hands then discard the tissue in a covered trash receptacle and wash hands and face with soap and water.
c. Keep the fingernails short.
6. Put in place healthy lifestyle measures to promote a healthy mind and body
a. Attend to your spiritual health (prayer, worship, fellowship, meditation).
b. Maintain a positive mental attitude – Everyone will not die of Swine Flu, everyone will not get sick, many affected persons have already recovered.
c. Maintain good nutrition and hydration with local produce and fluids. Do not skip meals and do not overeat.
d. Get adequate exercise (walking three times per week); sleep (adults 6 to 8 hours, teens 8 hours, young children 10 to 12 hours).
e. Avoid excess alcohol and caffeine.
Chief Medical Officer
|WEBSITES H1N1 (Swine) FLU
|PRESS RELEASE #2/10
THE CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER
DR. PATRICK MARTIN