Influenza A (H1N1) Update

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Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Joy St. John (FP)??

The number of persons seeking medical attention for influenza-like illnesses in Barbados has declined significantly over the past two weeks.??This is in contrast to the larger numbers seen at public and private health care facilities early last month.??

According to the Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Joy St. John, "this is an indication that Barbados has now come out of the first wave of the Influenza A (H1N1) pandemic."?? Dr. St. John, however, cautioned that all persons must maintain vigilance in view of the possibility that the country could start to experience a second wave at any time.??

She has reminded members of the public of the need to continue to practise good respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene, as well as to adhere to guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health, such as avoiding travel and staying away from school and work when ill with fever and flu-like symptoms.????

With the number of confirmed cases of Influenza A (H1N1) now standing at 154, the Chief Medical Officer noted that in its preparation for a possible second wave of the pandemic, the Ministry of Health was currently coordinating a number of activities.?? These include continued surveillance and ongoing training for technical officers. Specific modules for nurses, nursing assistants, health aides and port health personnel have recently been completed.?? ????????

Dr. St. John stressed that Barbados was still pursuing the procurement of the vaccine for the Influenza A (H1N1) virus through the Pan American Health Organisation and was engaged in a CARICOM planning meeting on the subject. She also noted that to support these efforts, funds were earmarked for vaccine procurement.

The Chief Medical Officer also stated that Barbados had undertaken efforts to increase its capacity for confirmatory testing for the virus and this included the acquisition of specialised equipment, as well as specific training for laboratory personnel.

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