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The Ministry of Health and Wellness has reported a spike in cases of fever with respiratory illness over the last four weeks when compared to the same periods in 2017 and 2018.

While an increased number of cases were also recorded at this time of year over the last two years, this year there has been an average of 82 cases for the period November 16 to December 7, compared to 32 in 2017, and 35 in 2018 for the same period.

According to Senior Medical Officer, Dr. Leslie Rollock, common infectious agents include rhinovirus and influenza, with increasing instances of influenza viruses – H3N2, H1N1 or Influenza B – being identified.

Persons at risk of severe disease, including those with asthma, kidney disease, diabetes or other non-communicable diseases, are advised to visit the nearest polyclinic to obtain the yearly seasonal flu vaccine.

The medical professional also urged that enhanced cough etiquette be practised.

“Those who are ill should cover the nose and mouth with tissue when coughing or sneezing.  Used tissues should be disposed of in a bin or in a tied plastic bag and hand hygiene performed before handling anything else.  Alternatively, persons could cough or sneeze into the inner side of the elbow,” she advised.

Dr. Rollock reiterated that good hand hygiene involved washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and drying them with disposable tissue. 

If soap and water are not available, an alcohol-based sanitizer is recommended. Persons are also advised to keep unwashed hands away from the eyes, nose and mouth, and to generally avoid touching these areas as germs can enter the body this way.

joy.springer@barbados.gov.bb

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