Cayman catches more cases of swine flu

| 21/06/2009

(CNS): With test resultsfrom the Caribbean Epidemiology Centre (CAREC) on Friday, 19 June confirming another three cases of the novel H1N1 flu virus, (swine flu) there are now seven cases of flu on Grand Cayman with more expected over the coming days. 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 to determine if there has been human-to-human transmission within a household.

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 say anyone who develops fever and flu-like symptoms should stay in home isolation until their symptoms have completely resolved. In addition to the novel H1N1 there are three other typical seasonal flu viruses still circulating in Cayman and the recommendation serves to mitigate the spread of all four influenza viruses.

“The illness associated with the novel H1N1 flu virus is mild,” added Dr. Hoeksema. “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.”

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  1. Anonymous says:

    If this flu virus is "novel" and "mild", shouldn’t we be encouraging exposure to it as a cheap form of vaccination?  The reason people over 60 do not seem susceptible to it is because they have an immunity built up from exposure to a related virus in their youth.

    Contrary to the beliefs of our religious fanatics, this virus is going to evolve.  If it produces even milder symptoms, that’s fine. But if it mutates into something more virulent, I’m hoping that I’ve already had the "mild" form and so will be protected.