H1N1 Update: Friday, 19 June '09
Published 19th June 2009, 4:30pm
Test results from the Caribbean Epidemiology Centre (CAREC) today (Friday, 19 June) confirmed three cases of the novel H1N1 virus, bringing the total of confirmed cases in the Cayman Islands to seven.
The patients, two women and a man, all became sick after returning from visits to the United States and all are recovering without complications or needing antiviral medication. "Given their travel history and the timeframe of their illnesses, we're confident these are imported cases," said Health Services Authority (HSA) Medical Director Dr. Greg Hoeksema. One family member is being evaluated today to determine if there has been human-to-human transmission within a household contact.
Dr. Hoeksema points out that the HSA has been expecting more imported cases, given the frequency of travel between Cayman and the United States. "With the high volume of travel between the Cayman Islands and the US, it was inevitable that we would have additional imported cases. We can still expect even more since recent news reports indicate that a cool spring has prolonged the flu season in the United States."
Health officials are advising anyone who develops fever and flu-like symptoms to stay in home isolation until their symptoms have completely resolved. In addition to the novel H1N1 confirmations, testing has also confirmed that the three other typical seasonal flu viruses are still circulating here in Cayman, so this recommendation serves to mitigate the spread of all four influenza viruses.
"The illness associated with the novel H1N1 flu virus is mild. Our advice is to stay at home and only seek medical care with your regular physician if you are concerned about the severity of your illness. However, persons who are at increased risk of developing complications of the flu should visit their doctor. These include children under five, people over 65, people with serious chronic medical problems, people with immune deficiency, and women who are pregnant," explains Dr. Hoeksema.
People who have a fever and flu-like symptoms (headache, chills, cough, chest pain, sore throat, muscle aches, diarrhea, vomiting) should do the following:
- Remain at home until all symptoms have completely resolved (typically 4-10 days).
- Take over-the-counter medication as needed to relieve symptoms, but do not give children under 18 years of age any aspirin-containing products.
- Drink lots of fluids (water and other non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated beverages) to avoid becoming dehydrated.
- If you have diarrhea or vomiting, it's a good idea to rest, eat only small amounts of food at a time, and drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration.
For more information and advice, residents can call the Public Health/HSA 24-hour flu hotline at 926-2812.