Barbados recorded another eight confirmed cases of Influenza A (H1N1) over the past fortnight.

The first was a 24 year old cruise ship visitor who did not disembark. The others were local residents, four males and three females, whose ages ranged from 13 to 47 years. One affected person was hospitalised, but all patients have now either recovered or are recuperating under home isolation.??

The total number of confirmed cases for the island now stands at 31, with eight of the 11 parishes registering cases.????

In seeking to throw some light on the increasing incidence of the disease in Barbados and remind persons of its deleterious effects, the Ministry of Health has pointed out that "it is clear that one does not necessarily have to travel in order to contract Influenza A (H1N1), and more locally acquired infections are expected. Health-care providers and members of the public are therefore advised that, in future, not all persons exhibiting symptoms will be swabbed." ??

It has also been explained that, for surveillance purposes, only a small sample of ill persons would have swabs taken.

The Ministry of Health continues to monitor the international situation with the H1N1 virus, and it said that "there are strong indications that new infections will continue to occur well into 2010".

Barbados has recorded mainly mild cases so far, with few persons requiring hospitalisation. However, members of the public have been warned that severe illness and even death can occur in vulnerable persons.????

In the event of severe illness, worsening circumstances or illness in specified groups such as persons with underlying medical conditions, pregnant women or young children, medical attention should be sought.????

Barbadians are asked to note that there is ready access to appropriate medication in both the public and private health care facilities.

The public should continue to take the necessary precautionary measures and follow the advice given by the Ministry of Health, so as to minimise the risk of contracting the H1N1 virus.

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