Cayman records fourth swine flu case

| 17/06/2009

(CNS): Test results from the Caribbean Epidemiology Centre (CAREC) have confirmed a fourth case of the novel H1N1 virus (previously known as swine flu) in the Cayman Islands. While health officials are expecting more cases they have also stated that as this flu is no more harmful than the three other types of seasonal flu currently circulating in Cayman, people who feel unwell should simply stay in home isolation until their symptoms have completely resolved.

The latest patient is an eight year old student who fell sick a few days after returning from Miami. She subsequently tested positive for Influenza A at the Health Services Authority’s Accident & Emergency Unit.  “The child is recovering well at home without antiviral medications and is experiencing an uncomplicated illness like the other patients we have had locally,” said Health Services Authority Medical Director Dr. Greg Hoeksema. “With the high volume of travel between the Cayman Islands and the US, it is inevitable that we will have additional imported cases that in turn will lead to more human-to-human transmission in the islands.”

Dr. Hoeksema advises that anyone who develops fever and flu-like symptoms should stay in home isolation until their symptoms have completely resolved.

“The illness associated with the novel H1N1 flu virus is mild and appears no different from the typical seasonal flu. Also, we have confirmation from CAREC that all three of the typical seasonal flu viruses are also still circulating on the island.  So 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.”

He did however, warn those who are at increased risk of developing complications of the flu to 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,” explained Dr. Hoeksema. “While we understand the level of anxiety in the community about the current situation, it is important to emphasize that our plan covers all phases of a pandemic and takes into account many different scenarios.”

Dr Anna Matthews, Acting Medical Officer of Health, noted that the HSA’s response to the World Health Organization’s declaration of a pandemic earlier this month, was built on the presumption that a pandemic was likely. “WHO’s decision came as no surprise – from the start we acted aggressively to stay ahead of the virus,” she said adding that Cayman has a comprehensive National Influenza Pandemic Plan which outlines measures to be taken at various stages. “This allows for different strategies as the situation evolves. For example, we have now moved from detection of first imported cases to mitigation and containment since the virus is now here on the island,” Dr. Matthews said. 

Public health officials have reiterated that home isolation and self care is best for the majority of people infected with all flu viruses, including the novel H1N1. People who have a fever and flu-like symptoms (headache, chills, cough, chest pain, sore throat, muscle aches, diarrhea, vomiting) should 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 and if you have diarrhea or vomiting, health officials say it’s a good idea to rest, eat only small amounts of food at a time, and drink plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration.


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  1. Anonymous says:

    Of course they would learn a lot more! My kids have schedules to follow all weeklong and they in fact do not watch TV we don’t own one in my house so when I say that I would keep my kids home for the rest of the year they are BETTER off and I’m sure your kids are learning a lot from the cartoon network like yourself!

    Grow up …. and if anyone is SMART enough they would keep their kids home for the rest of the year or maybe their life I’m actually looking into home school. Are you looking for a better education for your kids? DIDN"T THINK SO!!!!!!!!!!!!



  2. Anonymous says:

    Let me be the first to thank you on behalf of the teachers and staff of RBPS for lightening their workload for the last two weeks of the term. You have achieved nothing else however. The HSA clearly stated that they would not be closing any other schools after the FBCS case. The Principals of the Government schools do not have the authority to close their own schools, even if it would serve any purpose to so, which it would not. Keep them home, I’m sure they will learn a lot from the Cartoon Network.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I agree with the last post, how come the school was never shut down to clean the classrooms? Maybe because it’s a GOVERNMENT school?

    I am so upset with with the whole situation and the fact that NO ONE has taking any measures to help ensure that the illness is not spread, maybe they wants all the kids at RBPS to get infected? Why not shut the school down for the rest of the year? Can the principle take that decision since GOVERNMENT is not saying anything? The fact that 3 kids were send home yesterday with high fever and vomiting doesn’t give anyone a clue of whats going on?

    Oh yeah…..I forgot…… if you feel sick stay home and DO NOT go to the doctor…… that’s how we are going to get the flu problem solve;  but continue to send your child to school to make sure they infect the rest of the kids……….that’s what GOVERNMENT wants us to do… ..

    I get it now! 

    • Anonymous says:

      The last comment is correct.   RBPS is a government school so why bother.  First Baptist was shut down right away.  I guess it true what they say, you get what you pay for.  I am leaving mine home instead of sending them to RBPS.  That school needs a proper cleaning anyway so now would be a good time.  

  4. Anonymous says:

    I received a call this morning from a friend to say that there is a case of H1N1 at RBPS.  I immediately called my child’s teacher to enquire of the situation.  I was told that they had an emergency meeting yesterday at which they were informed that there IS a child at RBPS who has contracted H1N1 and that because the doctor said it was OK, the child was still in school.  The teachers were not given the identity of the child.  Yesterday a child with high fever & vomiting was sent home from my child’s class; which could be unrelated.

    While I agree that our children do not live in bubbles and can contract this flu or any other illness anywhere in the environment, I think it would be reckless of me to knowingly place my child in harms way.  Yes, I did keep my child out of school today and I am seriously considering whether or not to send him/her back to school for the next 2 weeks.  Unfortunately, parents have not been informed of the situation or what measures have been taken to help to ensure that the illness is not spread.

    The news feed and subsequent comments led me to believe that this is a case that is a couple of weeks old.  My discussion with the class teacher this morning, led me to believe that this is a very current issue.  It would do us all a world of good, if the school or Education Dept could clear the air.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I agree with the parents who are upset as I too have kids at Red Bay Primary, but the truth is that wont stop your child from getting the flu.  We as parents work around other people everyday and go home to our kids, they play with either siblings or plymates whom go to other schools and are in contact with other people.  Our kids are not in a bubble so they will still get it.  I just returned to Cayman, who says I didn’t get it on the way from someone on the plane or while out shopping.  All we have to do is at best teach our kids what they can do to stop the spread.  If you work down town with tourist you have to take money and hold their cards and so forth; you don’t know if they have it or not.    Make sure your kids take their vitamins and give them vitamin c to help. 

  6. Troots says:

    Given that the teachers and school staff did not in fact know about this themselves until yesterday morning, perhaps you should redirect your anger and outrage towards those who get paid to take it. Those being the HSA and the Education Department/Ministry.

    By the way, it’s the flu.

    • Anonymous says:


      Yes it’s the flu, but what if my child has/had a lung condition? What if I had it and she got it and developed a more serious condition, or had came home and gave it to me.


      PS – I am upset with the entire Dept of Education, Health Services and Gov on the whole for not addressing the whole situation equally and thoughtfully. Mainly with RBPS because this is the 2nd time something like this has happened and they chose to sit back and do nothing!

      Thank God my daughter wont be there for another year!

  7. Anonymous says:

    I have confirmed this morning that there was a child in my daughter’s school – RED BAY PRIMARY – who was diagnosed with the Swine Flu two and a half weeks ago. The school chose not to let any of the parents or teachers know about this until last night at an emergency meeting. They are claiming that the child went away, and went straight hospital then home, and did not visit the school at any point, thus why parents were not notified. The child has since been given the all clear and has returned to school. There are reports of at least 3 children being sent home yesterday with fevers and an assortment of other symptoms. Still don’t think you should let the parents know huh? Let’s wait till the whole school and their families are all diagnosed, then it’ll be the right time to notify parents.

    I think this is very pathetic for the school not to let parents know, and that their story conflicts with that of the media. Why not inform the parents so that when the news got out (as you know it will – this is Cayman after all) the parents would know not to panic, and could test their child on their own if they see fit.

    Slackness, Complete and utter slackness. RBPS you have to do better! Fine protect this child’s identity, but don’t endager mine and other children’s health in order to do so.

    • Anonymous says:

      I completely agree.  I have 2 kids at Red Bay Primary School and feel that the lack of information will cause more parents to panic when we hear that the 4th confirmed case of H1N1 flu is a student at Red Bay and the school and GOVERNMENT choose not to notify parents.  What are we supposed to think?  The parents at First Baptist school were notified when a student there had been confirmed to have the H1N1 flu, so why not follow the same procedure for RBPS?  One of the newspapers report this morning that the 8 yr old female student DID, in fact, attend school for 1 day after returning from Miami and "they are confident no other students were infected".  How do they know?  Why not give the parents the choice to make that decision if there are other students that are feeling flu-like symptoms?  Very, very poor judgement to choose to keep the information private. 

  8. Anonymous says:

    brilliant idea. if you have the flu, please go to public places filled with immuno-compromised individuals so you can give a better statistical picture. don’t stay at home and hide the truth!

  9. Anonymous says:

    Stay home if you have flu symptoms. Seems like a nice way to hide the true facts of the epedimic.

    Whoever came up with that idea?