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Published 24th July 2009, 4:56pm

Minister of Health's Statement on Cayman's First H1N1 Death Confirmed

Late this afternoon, CAREC's lab in Trinidad confirmed that the 31-year-old male resident of Caribbean Haven, who died this week, had H1N1 flu, commonly known as swine flu.

Health officials, who have been in contact with the family from the start, have met with the family and shared this information with them. On behalf of government, I again offer condolences to the family, for their loss.

We all hoped that no one in Cayman would be severely affected by H1N1. But this unfortunate death shows that as a country, we face the same challenges in managing this illness, as do other countries around the world. Sadly, it is a fact that persons with underlying medical conditions, such as the young man who passed away, are susceptible to serious complications, and sometimes death.

Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kiran Kumar and his team visited Caribbean Haven immediately following the resident's death, in order to counsel residents and staff. They also tested those who had flu symptoms, and offered them the drug Tamiflu as treatment. As a preventative measure, Tamiflu was also offered to staff and residents who did not have flu symptoms.

Health officials will provide further details on H1N1 in Cayman at a press briefing on Monday.

I remind the public that government does have adequate supplies of Tamiflu. I also remind them to do their part, by remaining calm and following public health advisories. It is very important that we understand that H1N1, as well as seasonal flu, are national health issues. We all have important roles in preventing their spread.