Cayman suffers double the doses of flu

| 26/11/2009

(CNS): With no signof any swine flu vaccine coming to the Cayman Islands until the New Year, public health officials have confirmed that this year’s flu numbers are double those of the same time last year. There has been an average of 120 cases weekly, but an increase this past week saw the stats rise to 176. Flu has been increasing since the schools opened in September but government officials said there would be no school closures and healthy children should be attending. Officials also said that it is very likely H1N1 which is causing the massive increase.

“There has been a notable increase in flu activity this past week with 176 cases reported,” Medical Officer of Health Dr Kiran Kumar said.  “On a weekly average there have been about 45-50 children and 5-9 staff in schools and pre-schools that have reported flu-like symptoms, with a slight increase in the last week.

The data compiled by school health nurses showed that the flu case began rising after the September school opening, peaking in the third and forth weeks of that month.  “We ask teachers and students to be diligent with hand washing and cover their coughs and sneezes. Most importantly, parents must keep sick children at home,” Dr Kumar urged, adding that there is no need for healthy children to stay away from school.

Common symptoms to look for include fever, sore throat, coughing and a runny nose. Dr Kumar noted that if children experience mild illness, then parents can treat them with over-the-counter fever medication. “You only have to seek medical attention when needed. We know that we are in the midst of a global pandemic, and as such we can assume that most flu cases are from the H1N1 virus. And so, there is no longer any need to test every case,” he explained.

Education Chief Officer Mary Rodrigues said that schools continue to monitor the situation closely, and she also asked parents pay attention to public health advice: “We are in the beginning of flu season, and we should all play our part in minimizing the spread of the virus.”

For more information on H1N1 visit or The Health Services Authority has established a Flu Clinic and has a flu email and message system – – where residents can get more information. 

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