Keep Your Guard Up

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Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Joy St. John (Image: www.nationnews.com)

Residents of and visitors to Barbados have been advised ???to continue to carry-out good hygiene practices, although there are no confirmed cases of Influenza A H1N1 2009 in Barbados.???

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This admonition has come from the Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr. Joy St. John, who was at the time giving an update of the measures the Ministry of Health had taken so far to prevent any threat of the disease here.

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Dr. St. John noted that the World Health Organization had disclosed that the incidence of the disease continued to spread globally, so that 25 countries were now affected.??The number of confirmed cases has grown to 2,500, an increase of over 1,500 in one week.??Most cases were mild or moderate, and so far 29 persons have died. However, she cautioned, ???this could lull people into a state of complacency and cause them to let down their guard.???

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She revealed that, to date, the Ministry had provided briefings and training sessions for well over 2,400 persons in key sectors here, including the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. ???These sessions have been very useful and we continue to encourage caution and adherence to advice and disseminated protocols,??? she said.

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The CMO also pointed out that, from this week, the Ministry???s Hotline (436-2444 and 436-2437) was providing pertinent information on the symptoms of the Influenza A H1N1 2009 virus, and what persons should do if they exhibited these symptoms.

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The Ministry of Health has introduced a ???Health Alert Card??? that will be given to all arriving passengers at the various ports of entry. The card recommends a particular course of action persons should take if they experience flu-like symptoms during their stay here.

Dr. St. John further disclosed that the Ministry of Health would be stepping-up its awareness campaign to get the public to practice proper hygiene continually. ???This will take the form of more public service announcements on radio and television and the distribution of fact sheets throughout the island.???

She said there were a number of reputable internet websites where persons could source relevant information on Influenza A (H1N1): these include www.didseminar09.klickerzs.com;??www.who.int; http://cdc.gov and www.gisbarbados.gov.bb.

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