Kumar warns flu could get worse in fall season

| 21/07/2009

(CNS): Following the visit to Caribbean Haven Health Officials said today that samples have been taken from two residents which are being tested locally for any strain of influenza virus.  Dr. Kiran Kumar said that the overwhelming majority of persons in the Cayman Islands who have contracted H1N1 (Swine Flu) experience mild symptoms and make a full recovery but while health officials have not seen large numbers of severe flu cases so far, things could be very different in the fall when the flu season begins so health officials continue to take H1N1 seriously, said Dr. Kumar.

Following the death of a young male yesterday, health officials are waitingfor lab results from CAREC in Trinidad to help determine the cause which are expected on Thursday. A local post-mortem examination is also scheduled. There are currently four people hospitalized with flu-like symptoms and of them have tested positive for Influenza A and samples from them have also been sent to CAREC for confirmation.  Previously five people ahvebeen treated for the virus in the hospital and all of them have made a full recovery. Health officials said that they continue to take H1N1 seriously, said Dr. Kumar.

 “Our pandemic plan covers all phases and takes into account many possible scenarios, and we remain vigilant,” he said adding that it is part of the department of public health’s remit to monitor all infectious diseases. “Although H1N1 is in the news right now, we look for and identify all infectious viruses,” he said. Since the outbreak began, the Health Services Authority’s goal has been to stay one step ahead of this unpredictable virus, and do the planning and preparation necessary to keep residents as healthy as possible.

Health officials said everyone should continue taking common-sense, preventative action to stop the spread of germs, including frequent hand washing. Persons who are sick should stay home and avoid contact with others.  Certain groups of people are at higher risk of complications from the flu. These groups include children under the age of 5, adults over the age of 65, pregnant women, and persons with chronic conditions, such as asthma, diabetes, and heart disease.  If these persons develop a fever along with a cough, sore throat, or runny nose, they should call their health care providers immediately to discuss appropriate treatment. 


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  1. Let's Be Real says:

    Why can’t private doctors test for the swine flu?

    I woke up on Tuesday feeling very tired. After 15 minutes at work I had to put on my sweater because I was feeling very cold, figuring it may have been the A/C. After about an hour I knew something wasn’t right. The general unwell feeling was coming on fast. I have been very vigilant concerning swine flu, so I called my doctor and got an appointment, which was for that afternoon.

    Now I knew something was VERY wrong when I went outside with my thick sweater under the 2:15 sun and was shivering. My doctor checked me out and while talking, I was surprised to hear that private doctors cannot check for the swine flu! Apparently, the HSA told them that they need to do it because it’s a special test done by their nurses. SPECIAL TEST?!?! Now if a nurse can swab you for swine flu, how much worse can a DOCTOR do? I understand the need for them to monitor the numbers and have accurate statistics, but please tell me why my doctor can’t do the swab and send it in to them for analysis and record keeping? This is not the time for power and control.

    There are many private doctors on this island. This simply means that not everybody goes to GT Hospital. I for one don’t have 3 hours to spare on any day, not even Saturday.

    Additionally, word on the street is that GT Hospital isn’t testing again, or not the rate they should. CNS, can you please confirm this? Can we really afford not to test? Pass the cost on, but we need to know what is happening. I don’t think they know what is happening.

    If private doctors can’t test, then I suspect there are many more cases on this island than we are aware (or possible can imagine).

  2. Anonymous says:

    Could someone please tell our "professional" staff here for health what is really occuring with this virus.  This "only children and seniors" issue is very serious, as it shows our health system doesn’t keep up with the latest advice and statistics.

    "The highest rates are in those under 25. When we look at hospitalized cases, nearly 80 percent of people who have been hospitalized in the U.S. and reported to us have been under 50. The median age of hospitalized cases is 19 years old. When we look at the most severe outcomes, the people who have died, the age is a bit older. The median age of those who have died is 37, still quite young for anyone to be dying of an infectious disease, but a bit older than the hospitalizations and the average cases." http://www.ohsonline.com/Articles/2009/06/27/CDC-Estimates-1-Million-H1N1-Cases.aspx

    "As of July 17, 2009, 40,617 confirmed and probable infections with novel influenza A (H1N1) virus and 211 deaths (7 deaths in individuals 0-4 years, 43 deaths in individuals 5-24 years, 101 deaths in adults 25-49 years, 66 deaths in adults 50-64 years, 23 deaths in adults age 65 and older and 22 deaths with unknown age)" http://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/

    Look at where the large majority of deaths occurred, 5-49 years of age. 

    I wish someone in the media would point this out to the so called "doctors".

  3. Szocske says:

    Flu could get worse in the fall? Who would have thought!

    Also, leaves could turn to red, and nights could start getting colder. Seasons may chancge, the clock is likely to tick on.

  4. Annoymous says:

    Consideirng how quickly we have increased in numbers with this flu tells me that there maybe even more infected people who have either not been tested and brushed off my health officials as merely just a bad cold.

    Tell me why is it that we have to keep people in the dark telling us it is not as bad as we all may think, but yet this flu affects the young and very old the worse to even death.  But yet we are being told not to panic.

    Well here this I am panicking to the point that I retained a Doctor in the US and paid for my own Tamiflu ahead of time should I need to fly off island and care for my family as these idiots we have here in the health authority are just treating us as if we are a THIRD WORLD NATION.

    Can you expect any better from them?  Certainly not, I don’t trust anything they say.  They will eat these same words shortly and when people start dying and familes start suing the health authorities for misleading them and the Govt. Ministry for the same then they will wake up and realize that we have a pandemic on our hands.

    A real bunch of jokers running this country’s health system.

  5. Anonymous says:

    The current proposed policy of withhoding antivirals is going to kill people in Cayman this winter.

  6. Anonymous says:

    What I find most disturbing is that both the Minister and the Doctor repeatedly state that they are most concenred for young pepole (under the age  of 5) and old people.  This is the TYPICAL flu, this H1N1 has killed more healthy people than the two age groups I just pointed out. 

    Guess what?  If you are sick and you are young or old, you aren’t getting Tamiflu and will probably be brushed off by hosptical staff.  I wish they would read up on how this flu is not typical.

  7. Anonymous says:

    There is a real risk that this disease could turn more deadly and virulent over the next few months.  There have been at least 30 deaths already in the UK.  The statements of the Health Minister are worrying – he has failed to detail what the CIG’s plans are for a potentially deadly pandemic. 

  8. Richard Cranium says:

    This seems contradictory to the ministers statement that we have nothing to be concerned about.

    Who are we supposed to believe?