The Ministry of Health is reporting a two-fold increase in reported influenza cases over the same period last year.

According to laboratory surveillance of 11 public sector sentinel sites, 479 cases of influenza were recorded during the first 10 weeks of the year (up to March 12, 2011).?? Of this amount, 239 cases were recorded in the first five weeks of the year, and 240 in the following five weeks.?? For the same period in 2010 (up to March 13), 223 cases were reported from 10 public sector sites.??

Persons are reminded to practice good hygiene, including frequent hand washing with soap and water, using alcohol-based hand sanitisers, avoiding persons who are sick and staying away from work or school when ill.?? When coughing or sneezing,

cover your mouth and nose with a tissue, then throw it away immediately.?? If you do not have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve, never your hands.?? And, avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth after touching any objects or surfaces.

If you are otherwise in good health and contract influenza, get plenty of rest, drink a lot of liquids and use medications to relieve the symptoms.?? If your symptoms are unusually severe, for example, if you are having difficulty breathing, consult your health care provider immediately.?? However, never give aspirin to children or teenagers who have flu-like symptoms, especially fever.??

Influenza viruses spread from person to person primarily when an infected person coughs or sneezes near a susceptible person. Transmission via large-particle droplets requires close contact between source and recipient persons, because droplets generally travel only short distances (approximately six feet or less) through the air. Indirect transmission via hand transfer of influenza virus from virus-contaminated surfaces or objects to mucosal surfaces of the face (e.g. nose, mouth) may also occur.????

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