Acting Minister of Health, Sen. Irene Sandiford-Garner (FP)

Statement by the Ministry of Health

Update on Influenza A H1N1

As you know, over the last eight (8) weeks, an increasing number of countries throughout the world have been experiencing outbreaks of a new type of influenza. In response, the Government of Barbados has been proactive and undertook preparatory measures in anticipation of the possibility that this condition could reach our shores. The Ministry of Health wishes to inform the public that based on testing conducted by the laboratory of the Caribbean Epidemiology Research Centre (CAREC), Barbados has now recorded its first confirmed case of Influenza A H1N1 2009.??

Members of the public are urged to remain calm and to note that our Public Health Officials will continue to undertake all protective measures as are needed at this time.?? You are reminded that simple measures, e.g. covering your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, along with proper disposal of tissues and thorough hand washing are the most effective measures for preventing the spread of respiratory infections. You should also avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands, as the virus may enter your body this way. Persons with respiratory type illness consisting of cough, fever, shortness of breadth and malaise should stay away from school or work and avoid going out in public or public places.

Influenza A H1N1 2009 is a viral illness that can be easily transmitted from person to person, but most persons who become ill with this condition are likely to experience only mild forms of illness. The symptoms of this condition are similar to regular influenza and include: fever, chills, cough, stuffy nose, headache, fatigue, sore throat, body aches and sometimes vomiting and diarrhea.

If you are ill with flu-like symptoms and especially if you have travelled to an area that is affected by Influenza A H1N1, have been in close contact with someone who travelled and was ill, or someone who was diagnosed with Influenza A H1N1, you should seek medical advice. Persons experiencing mild symptoms are encouraged to have adequate fluids and rest and may use over-the-counter medications such as Paracetamol / Panadol / Tylenol for relief of pain and fever.

If you are pregnant or suffer with certain chronic conditions, you may be at greater risk of complications and should call your health care provider for medical advice. These include asthma and other lung conditions, heart disease, diabetes and impairment of the immune system. If persons develop difficulty breathing, mental confusion or worsening symptoms, immediate medical attention should be sought.

The Ministry of Health will give regular updates and as the situation warrants.?? For additional information about Influenza A H1N1 call the Ministry of Health’s hotline at: ??436-2437 or 436-2444.

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