CaribWorldNews, KINGSTON, Jamaica, Tues. July 7, 2009: Jamaica has its first death from swine flu and only the third across the Caribbean.
Jamaica Minister of Health, Rudyard Spencer, said Monday that the unnamed man died at the University Hospital of the West Indies this morning after being transferred from the Spanish Town Hospital. He had been confirmed with Influenza A(H1N1) or swine flu.
The minister, who is currently in Geneva, Switzerland attending a meeting, said he has asked a team of doctors to review the case management and report to him on his return on Friday.
The patient suffered complications from the virus and was also experiencing an underlying medical condition. Jamaica now has 33 confirmed cases, including one death. The Dominican Republic has so far reported two deaths, the first and only other Caribbean nation to do so.
The DR now has 108 reported cases of the virus, according to the World Health Organization. Cuba has 85 while Trinidad and Tobago has reported 65 cases.
Guyana recently reported two cases, bringing the total across the Caribbean to 389.
Persons who are in the high risk group for complications from Influenza A(H1N1) include children under 5 years old, the elderly and persons with chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, hypertension and asthma. Severe symptoms of Influenza nclude diarrhea, vomiting, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, and persistent symptoms that are getting worse.
Persons are reminded to observe personal hygiene practices of washing hands frequently with soap and water and covering nose and mouth when sneezing or coughing preferably with a tissue, which should be disposed of properly.