Death not swine flu says HSA

| 20/07/2009

(CNS): Updated 21 July 7:30 am –– The death of a 31-year old Caymanian man, who was residing at Caribbean Haven, the government’s substance abuse treatment centre, caused a floury of activity by Health officials yesterday when the possibility of the death being caused by swine flu was raised. However, it was confirmed that the patient was likely to have died as a result of other causes when a locally administered influenza A test came up negative. HSA officials said the test has about a 90% accuracy rate; however, samples were sent to CAREC in Trinidad for further testing.

Health Services Medical Director Dr Greg Hoeksema said the HSA is continuing to establish the actual cause of the man’s death and that heath visitors would be seeing residents and staff at Caribbean Haven yesterday evening. Mark Scotland, the Minister of Health encouraged everyone to continue following the Health Services Authority’s widely publicised guidelines to prevent the spread of the flu virus.  “We have every confidence in the National Influenza Pandemic Committee, in the contingency plan, and in the measures which have already been so purposefully implemented,” he added. “I ask residents to heed public health advisories and to stay informed. The Cayman Islands National Influenza Pandemic Committee will continue to monitor the situation and adjust the country’s response accordingly.

There have been at least 49 confirmed cases of the novel H1N1 09 flu virus or swine flu on the islands but in each case, with one exception all patients have had only mild symptoms and recovered without complications. Only one patient who has since recovered was hospitalized for treatment.


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Comments (14)

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  1. Qualified Success says:

    So having kids is a qualification for being health minister? Wow!  I always ask my GP how many kids they have. 

    I can imagine the Health Ministry meetings "What are the roads like around the clinics?", "Should we start with building some roads to the clinics?", "Ambulances need good roads", "These forms, they are complicated, can we just ignore them?  I did that when I ran for office and it didn’t seem to cause me any problems". 

    We had an arts minister who had never heard of Picasso, so should we expecting much more?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Mark has children so that makes him interested in Health? AND???????

    LOL … we are dumber than I thought.

  3. Anonymous says:

     Flu or Influenza is a serious killer every year, the amount of deaths from swine flu is absolutely pathetic in comparison

    CDC in the USA claims 36,000 deaths from flu a year

    CNN tells us that since January this year 13,000 people have died from flu (as of april so more likely close 30,000 now.

    Swine flu worldwide has killed what 700 and just above so far ?

    Statistically it is not a threat at all compared to regular flu.

    • Anonymous says:

      Excellent response 11.20.

      Also we have far more people world wide dying of AIDS and still we continue to fail to take protection against this killer and continue to have unprotected sex. AND in the Cayman Islands it would be criminal to suggest having plain old sex education in the schools and handing out free condoms – oh Lordy Lord – what next.

  4. Anonymous says:

    What I do not understand about the Cayman society could perhaps be explained to me in part within this forum. There are horrible murders around the island of both men and woman, serious domestic violence and the island focus is about a non deadly flu virus. The radio talk shows and other places raise concerns about a swine flu when there is horrible violence in almost every area of the country.

    Why, is it a red herring?

  5. anoin says:

    I will also add that there have been only 40,000 infections recorded in the US with only 300 deaths, so a less than 1% fatality rate.

    But other countries are not so fortunate:

    Argentina 5.5% fatality rate

    Uruguay 3.5%

    Paraguay 5.7%

    Columbia 4.0%

    Jamaca 4.5%

  6. anoin says:

    If Cayman comes a hotbed for the H1N1 strain, no cruiseships, lack of stayover tourists, no incoming businessmen.

    For an already hurting retail and tourism sctor it could be the nail in the coffin for some.

  7. Szocske says:

    "Can anyone tell me if anybody died last year from the regular flu?"

    The WHO has the official estimate:

    "annual epidemics are thought to result in between three and five million cases of severe illness and between 250 000 and 500 000 deaths every year around the world."

    Also, while we are at it, here’s some free perspective, go get some:

  8. Anonymous says:

    The Minister of Health knows nothing about Health, but he knows a lot about building Roads.

    He was appointed to that Post by the LOGB who knows nothing about leading anything himself.

    Therefore, If the last Minister of Health knew nothing about Health and nothing about building roads,, and the last LOGB knew nothing about leading, what difference do it make in our present Health situation if the Minister knows nothing about Health. At least he can act like a Parrot and just repeat whatever he hears being said by those who are supposed to know about Health, Which by the way seems to be non-existent in our Health system.

    By the way could our National Airline be one of the assets that Big Mac plans to sell.

    • anonymous says:

      How many of our Ministers actually have training in the fields that they have been appointed to.  I personally think that most of them "fell" into the jobs they were assigned and learned as they went.  Mark has kids so that alone should make him interested in health.

      Elections were on May 20th.  It is not about which party is in there.  Let them do their jobs.  Do you realise that they will always have a lot of back up in the Ministries and outside of Government to help them with their positions?


      Let’s work together to get Cayman Back On Course.

  9. We told you so!! says:

    I believe that this Swine Flu is being taken too lightly by our Government and HSA… the standard rate of infection Cayman can expect almost 1,000 to 2,000 persons to contract the H1N1. We can expect a minimum of 3-5 deaths based on the world figures. And the Cayman Islands being a transit point for people all over the world makes those statistics on the low side anyway. The Flu is not even making headlines here anymore.

    Hope you are not in the 3 to 5 statistic.

    • Anonymous says:

       Actually, if you listened to Dr. Hoekesma this morning you would have heard that Cayman can expect approximately 6% of the population here to contract the virus, which equates to over 3,000.

      The citizens here need to be accountable, not our headlines!  If you sneeze, cover it, wash your hands……and stay home if you are sick!  People are getting on planes sick, going to work sick, going to school sick…….stay home and get better!

  10. Anonymous says:

     So let’s get this straight – 

    Our Health Minister who knows nothing about health but sure knows how to build a road has told us the following: "Health Minister Mark Scotland said his ministry is closely monitoring the situation and the H1N1 flu strain currently in Cayman is not a serious threat."

    He keeps saying that the swine flu is no more serious than the normal flu.  Can anyone tell me if anybody died last year from the regular flu?

    This is a serious issue and we need someone who understands health not roads to be in charge of the Health Ministry.


    So Mark please tell us what is your spin on this first suspected death by swine flu.


    My prayers go out to the family of this victim and pray it will be the only death of this very deadly virus.

    • Anonymous says:

      Alot of people die annually from "regular flu" and I am sure if you get the statitics you will see that. So the answer to your question would be YES